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Survey Results On Consumer Perceptions Of Email And Spam

Epsilon Interactive announced the results of its latest annual survey on consumer perceptions of email and spam, highlighting fundamental shifts in ISP market share, gains in the battle against Internet fraud, and early indications of the great promise held by authentication solutions to improve confidence in the channel.

Key findings:

  • Yahoo! appears to have definitively replaced AOL as the nation’s leading email client, with 23 percent market share, up from 19 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, AOL has slipped from owning 20 percent of the market to 15 percent today. Marketers will also be paying closer attention to Gmail in the year ahead – 5 percent of consumers now use the Internet darling’s free service to read their email, up from a mere 1 percent a year ago.

  • 43 percent of MSN/Hotmail and 19 percent of Yahoo! users report having seen an authentication confirmation or warning in the header (Sender ID and DomainKeys, respectively). It also appears that these users have more confidence in the safety of their inboxes and in the legitimacy of verified senders.

  • The rapid acceleration of broadband access continues to have a profound impact on the landscape. In fact, "upgrading to broadband/high-speed" (33 percent) comes second only to price (38 percent) as the primary reason why consumers switched or considered switching their ISP over the last year. In addition, this number is up significantly from 25 percent who cited broadband as their reason last year.

  • Nearly one in five consumers (18 percent) indicated that they use their work email address to receive personal marketing offers, pointing to the growing importance of understanding the BtoB deliverability landscape and implementing corresponding technology solutions and best practices.

  • Too many marketers continue to miss out on deliverability "easy wins." The number of marketers encouraging consumers to add them to their address books, which provides marketers with benefits commensurate to Enhanced Whitelisting, remained unchanged between 2005 and 2006 (43 percent vs. 42 percent).

  • Relevance rises. The majority of consumers (60 percent, up from 57 percent last year), agreed that the email communications they receive from companies they do business with are more targeted/relevant than the communications they received from those same companies last year.

  • Email’s impact on purchasing is felt across channels. Consumers who receive legitimate email offers are more likely to act on them, with 47 percent of respondents saying they would make a purchase online after opening a relevant email and 65 percent indicated they would purchase offline based on the email they received.

  • Reports of false positives are down slightly, with 22 percent indicating that they have recently lost or did not receive an email that they were supposed to receive from a trusted source, compared to 25 percent last year.

  • Consumers appear more confident about identifying fraudulent "phishing" email - 69 percent vs. 64 percent last year and slightly more report receiving a phishing email (37 percent vs. 34 percent), as ISPs, marketers and media outlets intensified the online safety education effort last year. Meanwhile, reports of spyware infections are also down significantly among email account owners (47 percent vs. 55 percent) as consumers take measures to protect themselves online.
The GfK Group conducted the Epsilon Interactive survey among a nationally representative sample of adults 18 years or older who have Internet access at home. The survey was conducted from January 20, 2006 through January 22, 2006 and data was collected by OmniTel, GfK's telephone omnibus. A total of 1005 respondents were interviewed, 584 respondents (295 males; 289 females) qualified for this survey in that they have Internet access at home.

To request a complete copy of the research, please contact Mary Beth Keelty at

Source: Epsilon Interactive

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