SAN DIEGO, CA: Most consumers prefer email to other forms of communication with companies and brands and most only sign up to receive these in the hope of getting money-off offers, according to new research.

For its 2014 Consumer Views of Email Marketing report, email marketing provider BlueHornet Networks surveyed more than 1,000 consumers between the ages of 18 and 75 across the US. It found that, given the choice, almost 70% of consumers wanted to communicate with brands via email rather than direct mail or text messages.

Further, more than 80% said straightforward cash discounts were the main reason for registering their address with a brand. After that, younger consumers, aged 18 to 45, were attracted by percentage discounts while older consumers, aged 46 to 75, liked the idea of free shipping.

Many – almost 45% – were prepared to hold off on making a purchase until they received a suitable discount, "a valuable data point for segmenting those who need an offer versus those who will purchase without one" the study noted.

And despite the growth of instant messaging and chat apps, email remains a potent mobile channel: of consumers who made at least one purchase in the last year, around 38% engaged from a mobile email and used a mobile coupon.

But it is essential that mobile emails display properly: 87% of consumers said they would delete or unsubscribe altogether from an email list if there were display problems.

A separate analysis, reported in Marketing Profs, highlighted the 'halo effect' of email. Digital marketing agency Alchemy Worx looked at one client's monthly figures and found the average daily revenue on days in which email was sent delivered higher revenue through non-email channels.

When it looked at the source of the revenue, based on last touch and first touch, email was seen to have had the biggest effect where no channels had been identified. It concluded that "email is certainly driving sales in other channels".

Data sourced from BusinessWire, Marketing Profs; additional content by Warc staff