EUROPE: Irrelevant communications remain a major annoyance for European consumers, with a new survey suggesting that eight in ten are ready to take some sort of action against the brands behind such messages.

Research commissioned by Ricoh Europe gained responses from 2,892 respondents from 21 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

This research found that irrelevant communications, both online and paper-based, were a huge bugbear for more than two-thirds of consumers in Europe, who considered a quarter of what they received to be junk.

It"s not just the frustration of sifting through this volume of material that angers consumers: 25% of respondents reported missing a payment deadline as a result, while 34% said they have been unsure how much they owed for a service and 39% had missed offers they were entitled to.

Ricoh Europe warned that irrelevant communications were having a significantly detrimental impact on customer loyalty, trust and spend.

Two-thirds (65%) of consumers reported feeling less loyal to a brand that spammed them with irrelevant information. A similar proportion (63%) said they would spend less with them, while 57% threatened to stop being a customer completely.

Nearly a fifth of consumers had already moved their custom elsewhere, while another fifth had complained to a service provider, and one in ten had complained to a regulatory body.

"When it comes to the irrelevance and volume of communication sent out by brands and service providers, consumers are clearly saying enough is enough," said David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe.

"With severe penalties in place for getting it wrong and consumers ready to walk away, hitting the right note at the right time is key," he added.

And while many consumers are concerned about sharing their personal information, eight in ten respondents indicated a willingness to share such data – including occupation, salary, internet browsing habits and health records – if it meant brand communications were better tailored to their own circumstances.

Public sector bodies were seen to be sending the most relevant communications to consumers are the public sector (42%), followed by financial services (39%), utilities (37%) and healthcare (36%).

And, apart from utilities, these industries were also regarded as the most trustworthy handlers of customer data – but no single sector was viewed positively by more than half of consumers.

Data sourced from Ricoh Europe; additional content by Warc staff