DMA Study: Unsolicited E-Mail Worth $11B in Sales Yearly

Share this content:
Despite consumer complaints about unsolicited commercial e-mail, the Direct Marketing Association yesterday released a study showing U.S. consumers spent $11.7 billion on products and services advertised in unsolicited messages.

The DMA's estimates, based on a survey of 1,000 consumers by polling firm ORC International, Princeton, NJ, found that consumers spent $32.5 billion in response to all legitimate solicited and unsolicited commercial e-mail in the year prior to November 2003. The nearly 40 million who made purchases in response to e-mail represent about 19 percent of U.S. adult consumers.

The DMA projects that 258.1 million purchases were made in response to commercial e-mail in the survey period, including 75.4 million in response to unsolicited e-mail. Unsolicited commercial e-mail represented 36 percent of all spending in response to commercial e-mail. The survey's respondents reported spending more per order on unsolicited e-mail in their most recent purchase, an average of $155 per purchase versus $114 for solicited e-mail.

The study included only responses to non-fraudulent commercial e-mail.

The DMA has staunchly defended unsolicited e-mail as a valuable form of customer acquisition, particularly for small businesses. The trade group instead has defined spam as fraudulent e-mail. After much wrangling, the federal CAN-SPAM Act followed the DMA's lead and did not ban unsolicited commercial e-mail, requiring only that marketers obey consumer requests to cease commercial e-mail pitches.

The study concluded that commercial e-mail represented more than $8.1 billion in savings for consumers, including nearly $3 billion from unsolicited e-mail.

"Whether the e-mail is solicited from a company consumers currently do business with or is unsolicited e-mail from companies they may not yet have heard of, the responsible and legitimate commercial e-mail is recognized by millions of Americans as an opportunity to purchase goods and services worth tens of billions of dollars," the DMA concluded. "For many online shoppers, such e-mail represented an opportunity to save money, too -- savings amounting to many additional billions of dollars."


Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above