The dog days of summer are upon us! There’s an astronomical explanation for the name, but for most of us the “dog days” are a time of year when the kids don’t have school, everyone is piling into the car for road trips and vacations are finally around the corner. In the good (or bad, depending) old days, this time of year was a chance to disconnect. Now, we’re all on our mobile devices while filling the tank in Montana during the family road trip. But, though we’re still connected, our email and digital habits do change. Sometimes you ignore your phone when taking a noon nap on the beach, but eventually, you’ll pick it up and see the free shipping and deeply discounted promotional email. But you’re on vacation, taking things a bit slower and not conforming to your normal 8 to 5 routine.
People just can’t seem to tear themselves away from those screens! Booking hotels, flights, tours and other vacation related activities require an email address for confirmations and itineraries. And then there are the other screens in our lives—email overshadows everything. Consider the phenomenon of second screening while watching TV: 41% of respondents to a Nielson survey said they text or read/send email while watching TV. Email is a uniquely pervasive activity that isn’t deterred by TV programming that is designed specifically to attract and hold our attention. If Stranger Things doesn’t keep our full attention, why would a family vacation?
The fact of the matter is that email is vital even while on vacation – email is the documentation of our online lives.
Human patterns and e-commerce
It’s a safe bet that we’ll all continue shopping online, even poolside. E-commerce makes it almost a foregone conclusion that we will shop everywhere. But in the summer months, the when, where and how of our online shopping changes. During most of the year it’s assumed (and proven by some studies) that Tuesday and Thursdays, anywhere from 8 a.m. to lunch in local time, are the best times to engage with the average email recipient. That assumption always has to be followed by the caveat that all of these metrics are highly variable depending on the demographic, population and nature of the sender’s business. Nothing should be taken at face value. Days and times should be constantly tested.
Those human patterns change in the summer as we go on vacation, have increased demands on our time because kids are out of school, or simply spend more time enjoying the weather. This change might translate into time-sensitive offers not having as much impact as during the rest of the year, except, of course, when tied to specific holidays like July 4th. American audiences have been trained to expect them. But, people are catching on to that tactic; they are getting accustomed to seeing these deals extended past the actual holiday: