Neil Patel

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Email Marketing Statistics: How Consumers Feel about Emails

A graphic that says "Email Marketing Statistics: How Consumers Feel About Emails."

Most email marketing statistics roundups are great if you want to understand how your open rates compare to the industry average or find a new best practice to copy.

But they rarely uncover consumer expectations from email marketing or how to use data in a value-driven email marketing campaign.

Don’t worry, though. I’m here to shake things up.

My team and I surveyed 1000 people to find out how they feel about emails—and I spill everything in this article. You’ll learn about email usage habits, their favorite niches, and, crucially, what they think about AI-generated email content.

So, if you’re ready to create more relevant, engaging, and profitable email campaigns, let’s dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • Most consumers check their emails a few times a day. Almost one in five people check them multiple times per hour!
  • People sign up for emails to learn about potential promotions, get reminders of upcoming events, and learn more about brands and a first-time offer.
  • The three most popular industries for email are retailers, entertainment, and health and wellness.
  • Younger consumers think numerical headlines like “60% off” are more enticing. Older consumers prefer exclusivity. Women also prefer numerical headlines, while men prefer exclusive offers.
  • Over half (53.2 percent) of consumers say they can’t detect AI-generated email content. Even if they can, 38.89 percent don’t care about its presence, and 35.68 percent like it.
  • Make your email marketing campaigns more effective by segmenting your audience and personalizing emails, using enticing offers to get more subscribers, and having AI tools create engaging copy in seconds.

Our Methodology

To discover what consumers think about email, we surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S., across all age groups and demographics, who identify as likely to subscribe to email newsletters and other forms of content from the businesses and brands they follow.

Here’s what we found.

Consumer Email Habits

Let’s kick things off by discussing the top consumer preferences for email marketing:

  • How often do consumers check email?
  • How do they check email?
  • What kind of offers do they care about?

That way, you can give subscribers what they want!

How often do consumers check their email?

Consumers check their email a heck of a lot.

Our research shows that 61 percent of consumers are likely to check their email a few times per day.

Almost one in five people (18 percent) check their email multiple times per hour.

A bar graph comparing times per day that email users check the email.

It won’t come as a surprise, then, to learn that most people check their email on a smartphone, with 89% of respondents choosing this as their preferred method.

They check their emails at all times of the day, too:

  • 28 percent said Early morning (before 9 am)
  • 27 percent said Late morning (9 am –12 pm)
  • 21 percent said early afternoon (12 pm – 3 pm)
A pie chart on times of day that customers check their emails.

That’s right, it doesn’t matter if you send your email in the morning or the afternoon! But I recommend testing different times of day with your specific target audience to see what they prefer, which will help you drive more success with your email marketing campaigns.

Why do consumers sign up for emails?

Whether you’re running email marketing for ecommerce stores or just about any other business, it helps to know what motivates people to subscribe.

Our research shows that the four most popular reasons people sign up for your emails are to:

  • Know about potential promotions and deals
  • Get reminders of upcoming events
  • Learn more about brands
  • Get a first-time offer discount
A Good Eggs marketing email.

Remember these reasons when crafting your email sign-up CTA to make it as enticing as possible.

Which industries do consumers care about most?

Our survey found that the top three most popular industries people receive emails from are:

  • Retailers
  • Entertainment
  • Health and wellness

That’s great news if you run email marketing for e-commerce stores.

But the top industries change depending on who you ask. For example, when we asked people who said they make a purchase from emails either often or very often, we found they signed up for emails from slightly different industries.

For these high-intent buyers, the top three industries were:

  • Technology (think major tech manufacturers and companies)
  • Travel and hospitality + health and wellness (this was a tie for second)
  • Retailers

The great thing about this group of consumers is that even if they don’t remember signing up to get emails from your business, 41 percent would still look to see if your emails provided value or use to them.

Demographics and Email Preferences

Now, let’s look at how email preferences differ in demographics like age and gender.

Age

We asked a range of age groups (16-24, 25-34, and 35-54+) which email subject lines would most likely get them to open an email.

Both the 16-24-year-olds and the 25-34-year-olds — younger consumers, in other words — said a number-based headline like “60% off ALL spring styles” was the most enticing.

An email from Juvee.

The 35-54+-year olds preferred an exclusivity-based subject line like “Exclusive offer”.

Gender

You won’t be surprised to hear that men and women sign up for emails from different industries.

For men, the top three industries are:

  • Technology
  • Retailers
  • Entertainment and events

For women, the top three industries are:

  • Retailers
  • Entertainment/events
  • Health and wellness

Men and women also prefer different subject lines.

Women prefer numerical offers, while men prefer exclusivity.

If you didn’t already know, this research shows why segmenting emails is so important. Splitting your email list into separate groups (based on age, gender, or something else entirely) allows you to personalize subject lines and email content.

An email from Sunglasses Hut

If you segment by gender, try targeting men with exclusive offers (like the image above) and women with numerical offers.

AI and How It’s Changing Emails

The explosion of generative AI tools means creating customer-centric email campaigns is faster and easier than ever.

You can use tools like ChatGPT and Bard to:

  • Create enticing subject lines
  • Craft your email body copy
  • Brainstorm offers and discounts
  • Edit your copy

If you’re using these AI tools to create email campaigns, you’re probably wondering whether consumers can spot AI content and if they care about it.

Don’t worry, we’ve already asked the question and tallied the answers.

Most people can’t spot AI-generated email content and don’t care if you use it

Over half (53.2 percent) of people say they can’t detect AI-generated content in emails.

A pie chart showing the ability of consumers to detect AI-generated content in emails.

The good news is that even if your readers can detect AI content in your emails, they probably won’t care about it.

When we asked consumers how they feel about the presence of AI content in emails:

  • 38.89 percent say that the presence of AI-generated content in emails makes no difference to them
  • 35.68 percent say they like the presence of AI-generated content and feel it is an overall benefit
  • 25.43 percent do not like AI content and might unsubscribe from emails as a result of it
A pie chart showing how consumers feel about AI-generated content in emails.

Younger Consumers Are More Likely To Spot AI Content

When we broke down responses by age and gender, there was a close to 50:50 split in all age groups on whether they could detect AI copy.

Younger age groups skewed towards yes (they could detect AI copy). Whereas most (65 percent) consumers aged 45 or older couldn’t tell if emails were AI-generated.

More women (56 percent) said they couldn’t detect AI content, and men were almost an even split (50.45 percent said yes and 49.55 percent said no).

Build Your Email Strategy

Want to turn my insights into best practices for email marketing?

Here’s how I think you can implement my survey’s findings when creating customer-centric email campaigns.

  • Segment your audience. My survey shows that depending on demographic factors, people want different things from your email. So, use email segmentation to increase open rates, decrease unsubscribers, and increase ROI.
  • Give your visitors a reason to sign up for your email. Given that your email list generates $36 for every $1 spent building it, it’s worth doing almost anything to get people to sign up. So, offer new visitors a shopping discount if they subscribe or trade their email for a gated asset like a whitepaper.
  • Use AI as much as you like. My research clearly shows most consumers can’t tell if you’re using AI. If they can, they probably don’t care. I’d take that as a green light to use specialist AI email tools like Copy.ai and Mailmeteor to write killer subject lines and body copy in a flash. And of course, have a human verify it is good to go before hitting that schedule button!

Conclusion

These email marketing statistics shine a light on how consumers use email in 2024 and show just how incredible email is as a marketing channel. It’s a hotline into your consumers’ lives. Given how often they check their emails, you can get in touch with them and get a response day or night.

It’s even better now with the rise of AI. You no longer have to create emails from scratch. Open up ChatGPT or your choice of AI Writer and create dozens of email campaigns in minutes.

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