Are your customers suffering from email fatigue?

by Barb Cote on April 28, 2010

Barb Coté

Keeping up with the immense volume of email we receive each day can be exhausting.  Now you can wear your inbox on your sleeve — literally — with the e-mail counting T-shirt.

This snazzy little number was created by a software developer and engineer who dreamed up the idea with his wife. The shirt has a built-in counter that displays how many unread e-mails are sitting in your inbox.

Is there any significance to an email counting shirt? I think it is a symbol for the fact that Americans are suffering from email fatigue. That’s what a new study by marketing service provider Implix discovered they found that Americans are one of the least likely groups to open emails worldwide.

“Email Metrics by Continent Highlights:

  • The average open rate in North America was 10.76%. Europe was the clear leader with 13+%, more than 60% higher than the low score of 8.08%, delivered by Australia and Oceania.
  • More than 40 out of every 100 recipients who opened a message sent from Europe clicked on a link. In North America, less than one out of every three opened and clicked on a link.
  • In Asia, one of every four subscribers who clicked on an email link did it twice. In North America, just one out of eight clicked on a link twice.”

Our study shows how serious the problems of e-mail fatigue and low engagement have become in North America,” said Simon Grabowski, CEO of Implix.1

In contrast to the low rate of engagement via email, social media engagement has skyrocketed in the last 12 months. Is it possible that the positive benefits of social media could eclipse and eventually replace email as the primary means of online communication?

Analyst firm Gartner recently issued “Five Social Software Predictions for 2010 and Beyond”.3

“By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users. The rigid distinction between e-mail and social networks will erode, ” said Matt Cain, research vice president at Gartner. “While e-mail is already almost fully penetrated in the corporate space, we expect to see steep growth rates for sales of premises- and cloud-based social networking services. “

The rapid adoption of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook by the business world has stimulated discussion about the need for more business-facing social software platforms. What are you doing to make sure you are listening where your customers are most likely to be talking?


Barb Cote serves as the Creative Director at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Barb on  or follow her on .

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