Habeas released its 2008 study of consumer attitudes towards email and online interaction with businesses. The study, completed in May 2008 by research firm Ipsos, found that consumers prefer email as a primary method of communications in their personal and business capacities; they will continue to prefer email in the future despite the rise of online threats and the emergence of other communication channels and Web 2.0 applications. The report also revealed an interest from consumers in gaining more control over their online interactions with businesses and an increasing level of concern over spam and virus threats reaching consumers through their mobile devices.
"Regardless of their concerns over email and online threats, consumers are becoming even more dependent on email for their relationships with each other, via social networks and Web 2.0 applications, and those with whom they do business," said Des Cahill, CEO, Habeas, Inc. "This Ipsos study illustrates the relevance and longevity email has within the online ecosystem - today and in the coming years - and touches on the role consumers want mobile devices to play."
This year's research covered subjects as varied as security features and email protection, consumer abilities to identify spam, concerns about fraud, preferred modes of communications, online purchases resulting from email communications, email privacy, email unreliability and online marketing practices and reputation management.
Highlights from the study include:
Consumer opinion of the future importance of email registered far above future expectations for video conferencing (19 percent), instant messaging (17 percent), SMS text messages (12 percent) and Web meetings (12 percent).
Sixty-five percent of the demographic between the ages of 18 to 34, the age demographic most comfortable with IM, SMS and emerging communications methods, will favor email to communicate with businesses in five years.
Consumer Concerns Regarding Online Threats Increasing
Online Reputation Management Best Practices to Build Trust
More than 88 percent of respondents said they would like organizations to give them more choices over the content and frequency of the emails they receive, including options on advertisements, special offers, articles, newsletters, white papers and other specific content options.
Online Business Practices to Avoid
The 2008 Habeas study confirmed the consumer "Email Insecurity Factor" findings uncovered in the 2007 study. This year's report again found that nearly 60 percent of users employ two or more personal email addresses, giving a different address to entities they do not trust while maintaining separate accounts for trustworthy sources.
"Far from being eclipsed by Web 2.0 and other emerging communications methods, consumer expectations suggest that email will be the workhorse channel around which future online communications will revolve," Cahill continued. "This tells us that email will be as central to online commerce and communications in the future as it is today. Organizations that build trust with consumers by implementing forward-looking online reputation management strategies will differentiate themselves and gain a long-term competitive advantage by establishing themselves as a trusted online brand."