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DMA: Consumers more confident brands now handle their data correctly

Some 41% of consumers say they are more comfortable and confident that brands are handling their data correctly since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.

That is a headline finding from the DMA, previously known at the Direct Marketing Association, which has released the results of its annual consumer survey showing consumer sentiment towards email marketing.

According to the study, fewer people find themselves regularly questioning how a brand got their data in the first place compared to a year ago, with the ‘Consumer Email Tracker 2019’ report suggesting consumers believe they received fewer emails than ever before in 2018.

The research, which is conducted in association with Dotdigital, found 59% of consumers prefer brands to get in touch through email. But, at 57 per week, the average number of emails to personal inboxes fell by 16 over the course of the year – and less than half of these were said to be from brands.

Consumers questioned for the study estimate they’re signed up to receive email messages from around nine different brands, down from 12 in 2017. The DMA speculate the figures are a potential by-product of GDPR as well as consumers’ belief they have more control over the marketing emails they receive.

Rachel Aldighieri, managing director at the DMA, commented: “Despite the challenges that the GDPR may have brought to marketers and their organisations, it has clearly had a positive impact on consumers.

“The fact that so many of the people we surveyed said the new rules have made them more confident about how brands treat their personal data should be seen as a very positive step.”

She added: “This year’s report highlights the power of email to be at the heart of brands’ communication with customers, being the central channel that others can then be built around. However, it’s fundamental that marketers combine convenience and relevance, building relationships based on transparency and trust.”

The main reason for unsubscribing from a brand’s email programme, according to the research, is receiving too many messages (59%), followed by the information no longer being relevant (43%). But 43% said the key reason for unsubscribing was not recognising the brand, which suggests unsolicited emails are still creeping in despite the regulatory changes.

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