LONDON: Research by the UK Direct Marketing Association shows that Britons are receiving more sales-oriented emails than ever - up 37% year-on-year - with the inevitable consequence that fewer emails are actually opened.

The DMA's National Email Benchmarking Survey for the third quarter of 2006 notes a "worrying" fall in the average 'unique open rate', down from 25% in the year ago quarter to just 18%.

However, junk email designers have become more adept at bypassing spam filters, with the fail (blocked) rate for customer acquisition campaigns dropping from 9% in Q2 2006 to 3% in Q3. Customer retention campaigns also showed an improvement with delivery failures falling to 3% in Q3 from 7% in Q2.

Says Richard Gibson, chair of the DMA Email Marketing Council's Benchmarking Hub: "As more and more clients adopt some of the deliverability best practice standards such as sender ID, domain key registration and use of spam-checking tools, we should see deliverability rates hold, or maybe improved in the next few reports."

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff