Consumer Survey Reveals Notable Difference in Channel Preferences of Mobile and Non-Mobile Users


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Epsilon Study Finds Approximately Half of Mobile Device Users Prefer Digital Communications

DALLAS (December 3, 2012)—Epsilon, the global leader in delivering direct-to-customer connections that drive business performance, today released the annual 2012 Channel Preference Study, which revealed that while mobile penetration continues to grow significantly, consumers’ perceived value of mobile marketing is not yet aligned with marketers’ expectations.

The study, Channel Preference for Both the Mobile and Non-Mobile Consumer, found that 80% of U.S. consumers surveyed are not yet interested in receiving location-based mobile offers during or after a visit to a brick-and-mortar store. Additionally, there was a notable preference, ranging from 40-50%, for digital communications among mobile device users compared to non-users.

The study is based on completed surveys from 1,991 U.S. consumers and 3,816 Canadian consumers conducted in June 2012. In-depth findings from the study are available in the full report, which can be accessed free of charge at

Similar to last year’s results, the research showed that direct mail is the preferred channel for U.S. and Canadian consumers to receive brand communications in nearly every product and service category including financial services, insurance, general health, cleaning products, food and charitable causes.

Key findings from the study include:
· Mobile device users were 40-50% more likely to prefer email and online communications, respectively, than non-users;
· 21% of U.S. consumers and 26% of Canadian consumers use their cellular devices for sending and/or receiving email on a daily or weekly basis;
· 3% of U.S. consumers and 3% of Canadian consumers use mobile QR codes;
· U.S. tablet users are 50% more likely, on average, to prefer receiving information via email compared to those without smartphones or e-readers;
· 42% of U.S. consumers and 39% of Canadian consumers said direct mail is the preferred channel to receive sensitive health information;
· 36% of U.S. consumers and 35% of Canadian consumers said direct mail is the preference channel to receive insurance information. 39% and 38%, respectively said the same for Financial services information, and 26% and 20% respectively said the same for Retail information;
· 73% of Americans and 62% of Canadians said they receive a lot of emails that they simply do not open;
· 70% of Americans and 69% of Canadians said they have received more emails in the past year than the year before;
· 62% of Americans and 63% of Canadians said they enjoy checking the mailbox for postal mail;
· 51% of U.S. consumers and 49% of Canadian consumers said they pay more attention to postal mail than email;
· 73% of U.S. consumers and 67% of Canadian consumers said they prefer direct mail for brand communications because they can read the information at their convenience.

“Our study found that direct mail continues to a highly trusted and preferred channel among American and Canadian consumers and mobile usage is having a distinct impact on communication channel preferences. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to understand consumer behavior and create a two-way dialogue to incorporate each individual’s wants and needs into your marketing strategy,” said Warren Storey, Epsilon’s Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Insights. “For marketers to be successful, they need to understand their consumers and communicate with them in a meaningful and relevant manner. This takes deep insight, sophisticated analytics and segmentation.”

The 2012 Channel Preference Study also found:
Trusted Sources
· Women are more trusting of word of mouth information received from family and friends than men (55% versus 47%);
· Not surprisingly, doctors and nurses are the most trusted sources of healthcare information (according to 78% of U.S. consumers and 86% of Canadian consumers) while YouTube and Twitter are the least trusted sources (6% among Americans and 4% among Canadians).
Social Media
· Of the social channels included in the study, LinkedIn had the strongest growth in consumer usage in 2012 versus 2011 in the U.S., from 12% to 19%;
· 17% of U.S. consumers and 25% of Canadian consumers are very or somewhat interested in receiving offline communications for brands they have Liked or visited on social media sites.
· Group Deal awareness is 40% higher among mobile device users;
· On average, 40% of consumers who own mobile devices are likely to prefer email communications compared to non-device owners.

“The growth of social media and mobile has been unprecedented. However, marketers shouldn’t focus on either channel as a standalone communications tool,” said Storey. “By integrating across digital and traditional channels, marketers can create a truly seamless, omnichannel strategy that improves the customer experience, builds brand value and drives behavior.”

About Epsilon
Epsilon is the global leader in delivering direct-to-customer connections that drive business performance. Epsilon’s integrated solutions leverage the power of rich transactional and demographic marketing data, strategic insights, analytics, award-winning creative and robust digital and database marketing technologies to connect brands with consumers both online and offline, increasing engagement to generate measurable marketing outcomes. Founded in 1969, Epsilon works with over 2,000 global clients and employs over 3,500 associates in 37 offices worldwide. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @EpsilonMktg or call 1.800.309.0505.

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