Insights into the Transactional Communications Market: eDelivery

June 22, 2015

By Matt Swain, Director at InfoTrends

InfoTrendsIn Part 2 of this 4-part series, we looked at why investing in print & mail still matters for transactional communications. Paper remains a key delivery channel for the vast majority of bills and statements sent to U.S. households. But, we are kidding ourselves if we don’t recognize that delivery of bills and statements will continue to decline in favor of electronic alternatives.

Thank you for joining us for Part 3 to discuss the various channels of electronic delivery! If you prefer not to wait for next week’s conclusion, we can provide a copy of the entire 4-part series as a free eBook.

Last year, 53 percent of consumer respondents to our web-based research (which excludes the roughly 20 percent of consumers

Paperless eDelivery will grow at a 13 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and reach 37 percent by 2018.

who do not have Internet access at home) said they accessed most or all of their bills electronically, though many consumers are “double-dippers,” meaning they receive at least some communications electronically and by mail. As for paperless delivery, InfoTrends forecasts that it will grow to 37 percent by 2018, a 13 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), with much of the growth coming from double-dippers moving away from—or being directed away from—printed communications.

InfoTrends’ upcoming 2015 Annual State of the Transactional Communications Market Survey will include extensive data on eDelivery from multiple perspectives. For now, let’s review our 2014 market survey and take a closer look at some highlights for each of the three main eDelivery channels: web portal, e-mail, and mobile app.

Web Portal
Most consumers who access their bills and statements electronically do so by entering a user ID and password via their provider’s web portal. In fact, 75 percent of our respondents said they had used a web portal to access bills and statements within the last year. While the vast majority of consumers go directly to their providers’ web portals to access these communications, some are also using consolidation services through banks, digital mailbox services, and other non-bank consolidators (stay tuned for more on this topic in Part 4).

Significantly, 42 percent of web-connected consumers saw web portals as their primary access point last year, even above physical mail. When we asked about 2015, respondents who expected web portals to be their primary channel remained stable, but there was a significant drop (-13 percentage points) among respondents who expected physical mail to be their primary channel.

The businesses we surveyed saw self-service as the most important benefit for customers using their web portals, followed by bill payment and account review. While web portals drive customer traffic to their websites, many providers struggle to sustain that traffic and are looking to other channels—including e-mail and mobile apps—to adapt to evolving customer preferences.

Businesses often use e-mail as a notification channel to draw customers back to their websites to access transactional communications. For 52 percent of businesses, this is their preferred approach. What we found in our 2014 survey, however, is that consumers more often prefer bills and statements to be delivered either in an e-mail attachment or in the body of the e-mail; only 31 percent preferred to link back to the provider’s website. As illustrated in Figure 1, business and consumer preferences diverge.

Figure 1: e-Mail Delivery – Business versus Consumer Preferences

InfoTrends e-Mail Delivery graph

The advantage of e-mail delivery is that it allows providers to “push” communications directly to customers rather than “pull” them to another channel; however, legal and compliance concerns among companies relative to “push” delivery have hampered adoption. In 2014, 10 percent of businesses saw significant growth in customer e-mail usage, and 26 percent expected significant growth looking ahead to 2015. We expect e-mail to continue gaining momentum as a delivery channel, but measuring that momentum will be a key objective of our 2015 survey refresh.

Mobile Apps
To put the consumer tie to mobile apps into context, consider that 52 percent of digital media time in the U.S. is spent on mobile apps, according to comScore. Our research showed that 28 percent of consumers had accessed

23 percent of 18-24 year olds expected mobile app to be their primary way to access bills and
statements in 2015.

bills and statements via mobile apps within the last year. The main reasons why these consumers were using the mobile app were to review account balances and pay a bill. Furthermore, while only 5 percent of consumers used mobile apps as their primary way to access bills and statements, 14 percent expected to do so in 2015 (and among 18-24 year olds it was 23 percent).

Surprisingly, 27 percent of businesses that don’t have a mobile app cited lack of customer demand, but results vary when broken down by industry. For instance, 58 percent of telco respondents said they have more than one mobile app available for download, compared to 6 percent of healthcare respondents. With interest in mobile apps seemingly evolving rapidly, we look forward to analyzing the 2015 research findings.

InfoTrends’ Opinion
When developing an eDelivery strategy, it is critical for transactional communications providers to consider a wide range of delivery options, including web portals, e-mail, and mobile apps. Preferences among businesses and consumers in this market continue to evolve and we will have new insights on this with the completion of our 2015 Annual state of the Transactional Communications Market Survey.

We hope you enjoyed Part 3 of this 4-part series. Read Part 4 or download the free eBook version now!

Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know how you see the transactional eDelivery market shaping up. We also invite you to request more information about our upcoming 2015 Annual State of the Transactional Communications Market Survey.

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