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Generation Z: what do they think of the email channel?

Hello or Good evening everyone! Besides my job as an email marketing consultant, I am also a trainer in "Emailing Strategy" for several business schools in France.
At the beginning of this year, I taught 2 classes of 4th and 5th year students. They are about 22/24 years old, they were born in the years 1998-2000, it is what we call the generation Z. (By the way, this name is quite scary: what's after the letter Z?)

I enjoy teaching because it allows me to survey students on what they think of the email channel and the brand emails they receive. I always take the opportunity to do quality control live. I love their spontaneity and their frankness! Here is a series of questions I asked them during my classes and their answers (often in verbatims). Enjoy!

Do you read your emails?

  • "Only my work emails."
  • "Personal emails (like friends, family)? well no, but WHO is still sending emails today?"

I'm talking about branded emails, like promo emails, newsletters...

  • "No, never."
  • "Yes, I love the cosmetic brand Typology. Their emails are adjusted to the purchases previously made.
  • "The social network QuoraI love their newsletters! They deal with very relevant topics, I always read it! I've become completely addicted. They must have a crazy algo but I'm fine with it because the content is highly relevant" .
  • "The brand Private Travel : their visuals and discounts are crazy. It makes me want to take a vacation!"
  • "No, we have suffered too much from being harassed with sometimes 2 emails per day. Last week I received 5 emails from Bonobo, seriously! We are bludgeoned with emails, the frequency of sending is really a problem. "
  • "Me, I check my emails to unsubscribe".
  • "It's all about my state of mind.

Do you check your promo/other box?

  • "Only during Sales, Black Friday, Christmas... the big moments what."
  • "Gmail sorts hyper well."
  • "Hotmail sorts really badly."

What makes you open an email?

So we are talking about the subject:

  • The PROMO came first! They absolutely want a promotion otherwise they feel like they are not getting a deal and are almost being ripped off.
  • Word games, offbeat content. They want to have fun.
  • Personalization of the first name I have the impression that they wrote to ME
  • Customization! Wopilo sends few emails but personalizes a lot.

What about the emojis in the object?

  • "No, it looks fake, has-been. Hmm... although it still catches the eye. But that's not what's going to make me open it. On the other hand, emojis in the body of the email, yes that's fine."
  • "It depends on the sender and what they are going to offer us. It depends on the editorial line of the brand too. "
  • "The emoji has to be simple, black and white, but the yellow smiley is cheep."
  • "There should be a simple, recurring emoji, always the same, to identify at a glance who is sending us an email and about what subject."

What makes you click in an email?

  • The images, the visuals. They have to be beautiful.
  • A promo.
  • The contests.
  • The design is obvious. If it's ugly, I close it.

Need help?

Reading content isn't everything. The best way is to talk to us.

Other remarks:

  • "Oh no, I don't click in the emails. I open the email, then I close it and go to the brand's website. That way, I feel like I'm less followed and less ripped off."
  • "But WHO goes to their computer to open an email?"

Do you ever unsubscribe from a newsletter?

  • "All the time!"
  • "If the brand sends too many, I unsubscribe." "1 email a week is fine. 2 or 3 emails is dead, I unsubscribe."
  • When I notice that I never actually read the emailsAt some point, I unsubscribe.
  • "I am unsubscribing for ecological reasonsOtherwise, it's a waste of time and money. (First time I've heard that after 5 years of teaching and I was VERY happy 🙂 So I told them about our project Email Expiration Date which has been 100% validated!)
  • "Systematically."
  • "Sometimes I look for the link and I can't find it! Like I get emails from a job posting site and there's no desabo link." (Hum... in my opinion, normal because they are service emails but the user doesn't understand it, so it obviously annoys.)

Do you click on the "This is SPAM" button?

  • "No, I don't know that button."
  • "All the time."
  • "No, unsubscribing is still effective."
  • "Zadig & Voltaire: I unsubscribed and since then their emails arrive in spam" (Um... not logical... Zadig if you're passing by, come and see us, we have something to dig for 😉)
  • "Yes, if I can't find the unsubscribe button"

Do you ever read editorials in emails?

  • "Ah no, for that, we go to Insta or TikTok instead."

When do you check your emails?

  • "In the morning, on transportation."
  • "To the bathroom." (when I tell you that they are honest)
  • "When I'm bored, when I have free time."

Do you ever add a sender address to your address book?


What do you think of the Happy Birthday email?

  • "I love getting Happy Birthday emails. No one wishes me happy birthday, not even my mom! At least at night when I call her, I can tell her "You forgot my party! Even Sephora thought of it!"

and the happy birthday email?

  • "It's much too late!They send it on the birthday. What is it for? It's to prepare a birthday! The day of my birthday I am not too available! "
  • "So, what I do is 1 month before, I go to a site that I like, put items in a basket or favorite and send the link to my family, so they have an idea of gifts to give me."
  • "In fact, we should have 1 email gift 1 month before, then the D-day because it's the day it's celebrated, then 15 days after reminding us to use our gift well.
  • "Yes! I love this email, it's always good news, I have a promo code."
  • "Like Adidas, Nike, I NEVER open their emails but I ALWAYS open their birthday emails. It builds loyalty, I love getting them too much.
  • "Sephora and Petit Bateau do it well."

and cart abandonment?

  • You feel like crap when you get a cart abandonment email. It adds a layer! If I didn't validate my cart, it's because I don't have any money. When I put items in a basket, it's more to see how much it would cost me, like a quote. Then I realize that I'm already in the red, so I give up.
  • It puts a lot of pressure on. Like the one in Back Market is funny but hyper oppressive!"
  • "An abandoned cart is never an oversight. It's that I wanted to bookmark an item but the brand doesn't have a bookmark on their site, so I put it in the cart."
  • "In fact, iI would need an email with 2 buttons "I finalize my payment" and "I keep in favorite". Because sometimes I plan to buy something but it can take months so I'd like to be able to find it easily."

and the email reminders for inactive addresses?

  • Now they're messing with us, right? It's their fault that we don't open emails and now they're adding to it?"
  • 1 email once and for all and then that's it! But sometimes there are more, they insist!
  • In fact, it would take 1 email based on the click to be reactivated with the possibility to choose the content you want to receive and the frequency. 1 email per week is the serious maximum."

and video in emails?

  • It's heavy, it rows. Or the video must be read directly in the email and it must be less than a minute long.

and the countdown?

  • "Yeah, it's like, the email is going to get destroyed, like James Bond, it's lame. At the same time, maybe I'm subconsciously clicking anyway."

and survey/request for opinion emails

  • I never give my opinion, it's too complicated! You always have to fill in a lot of stuff. The SNCF is horrible for that, I give up directly.
  • "In a pinch if there was just a rating system, like stars, it would be fine, but it's never like that."
  • I really have to love the brand to give my opinion. Like my practitioner, he sends an email notification after each session and frankly to him I respond. I love my practitioner! And I know he's really going to read my review because he talks to me about it the next time."
  • If it was easy or directly in the emailI'll do it more maybe."
  • There has to be a gift at the end. "
  • Madam, is there really someone who reads the notices? Like the negative reviews are really forwarded to customer service? because when I'm really pissed off at a brand, I just beat the crap out of them. But no one ever calls me back to try to fix the problem."

and email retargeting?

  • "It's voyeurism. We don't pay attention. It puts too much pressure on. We didn't put it in the basket either so there's no need to throw it back."

If I say "preference center", does that mean anything to you?

  • Uh... No

After explanation....

  • "Aaaah, yes I see!"
  • "The idea is very good in itself. BUT on the other hand, couldn't we do it ONCE AND FOR ALL? Because I love movies and shoes. Well, no matter what brand, I will always love movies and shoes! It's so boring to have to give our preferences every time for each brand! Can't something like this be centralized?"
  • "Sometimes I really want to unsubscribe and I come across the preference center and well now it's really pissing me off!"
  • Thebradery Does it right."
  • "Nature & Discoveries warns. They say text message 4 times a year max, mail 2 times a year max, something like that."
  • "You really need 2 links side by side in the footers (and headers 😉) of emails: "Unsubscribe from ALL" and "Choose the emails I receive".
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