2021 Global Email Benchmarks Presented By Campaign Monitor

In 2020, Email Volume Grew 7% and Consumers Responded with a 13% Increase in Open Rates

We’re excited to announce the release of our annual 2021 Benchmarks Report. So many of our customers dealt with huge changes to their businesses, including everything from decreased in-person business to managing increased online behavior, as well as problems with supply chain and fulfillment. During all of this upheaval, email became an important communication channel in order to provide COVID-19 information and content—and of course, transaction details.

The 2021 Email Benchmarks Report analyzed over 100 billion emails sent globally by CM Group clients. With so much more customer interaction happening online, email grew an incredible 7% in 2020, compared to a growth rate of only 2.5% the year before. This equates to more than 1 billion more emails sent year over year by CM Group clients per month, with the highest increases happening in March and July when clients sent 1.5 billion more emails.

Not only that, we saw that our customers’ audiences were highly engaged, with an increase in open rates at a staggering 13%. Even with the record number of emails going to inboxes, people were more likely to engage than ever before, with the peak open rates happening in April and May.

This is a highly encouraging sign for our customers, especially as many will continue to rely on email this year as new changes unfold and as they learn to balance “back-to-normal” behavior with their newfound online preferences.

Here are several other key findings from the Report:

  • Friday had the highest open rates: In a shift from past years where early week-day performed the best, Friday was the highest performer in 2020.
  • Mobile share decreased: With less time in lines and commuting, mobile’s share of opened emails went down for the first time in years, from 63% to 54%.
  • Click-to-open rates decreased: Many more emails were sent to simply provide information, rather than to drive an action, resulting in a slight click-to-open rate decrease from 2019.
  • Several industries saw click-through rates above 4%: Four industries -- government, education, nonprofits and agriculture -- all saw increases to its click-through rates in 2020, all reaching above 4%.
  • Unsubscribe rates were historically low: Specifically for entertainment, media and, importantly, retail, Campaign Monitor saw unsubscribe rates near 0% throughout the year.

This an email benchmarks graphic that shows industry averages

Looking ahead, we see the opportunity to have larger and more engaged email subscriber lists this year. But as everyone gets back to life as usual, having the right segmentation and personalization will be even more critical to reaching your audience. Now is the time to test, test, test, in order to determine what keeps subscribers most interested over the long term, not just for an individual email or campaign.

To get a full breakdown of performance benchmarks in 2020, including send volume, open rate and click-through rate by industry and day of week, we encourage you to download the full Report.

These benchmarks serve as an important and valuable baseline for marketers as they try to plan 2021 without their typical historical data to rely on.

To download the full 2021 Benchmarks Report, click here.

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