Email Open Rate Benchmarks for 2018: How Do You Compare?

It’s always a good idea to see how you stack up against the competition. It can give you the motivation to do better. That’s why Olympic world records are constantly broken. Athletes aren’t just checking out the competition beside them. They’re trying to upset the previous record holder.

While you may not be lacing up a pair of athletic shoes, you may feel as if you’re running some type of sprint with your digital marketing strategies.

Are you email marketing campaigns performing better than they did last year? How do your open rates compare to those of your competitors? Or, perhaps, those of other companies in similar industries?

We rounded up some of the latest email statistics, including email open rate benchmarks for 2018, released by digital marketing industry leaders to give you a sense of where you stand with your email marketing performance.

Email open rate benchmarks for 2018

Getting to that first level of engagement—actually having your recipients open the email to see what you have to say—is the first mark of a successful campaign. Of course, conversion is your ultimate goal. But an open rate gives you the opportunity to make something happen.

Overall email open rates were slightly lower, compared to rates in previous quarters, according to Epsilon’s analysis of 13.5 billion emails during a period from April 2018 to June 2018.

Email open rates

During Q2 of 2018, email open rates averaged 31.2%, compared to 33.8% for the same quarter in 2017 and 35.6% in 2016. Click-through rates were 3.4% for the same period, compared to 3% in 2017 and 3.5% in 2016, according to the Epsilon study.

Here are email open rates for the past nine quarters:

  • Q2 2018 – 31.2%
  • Q1 2018 – 33.1%
  • Q4 2017 – 32.1%
  • Q3 2017 – 31.2%
  • Q2 2017 – 33.8%
  • Q1 2017 – 33.5%
  • Q4 2016 – 32.1%
  • Q3 2016 – 34.1%
  • Q2 2016 – 35.6%

Unique open rates, unique clicks

Unique open rates among U.S. companies averaged 23.1%, according to the 2018 Marketing Benchmark Report by IBM/Watson Marketing That compares to a global unique open rate of 22.8.

When it comes to industries, the unique open rates ranged from a high of 45.1% for automotive/transportation and a low of 15% for consumer services, based on results from the IBM/Watson report. Here is a detailed list of unique email open rates by industry:

  • Automotive/Transportation—45.1%
  • Banks/Finance—21%
  • Computer Hardware/Telecommunications—30%
  • Computer Software/Online Services—22%
  • Consumer Products—21.5%
  • Consumer Services—15%
  • Corporate Services—18.8%
  • Energy/Environmental—30.9%
  • Food/Beverage—25.9%
  • Hospitals/Healthcare/Biotech—24.7%
  • Industrial Products—19.6%
  • Insurance—31.4%
  • Leisure/Sports/Recreation—19.1%
  • Lodging/Travel Agencies/Services—25.5%
  • Marketing/Advertising—24.2%
  • Media/Publishing—18.9%
  • Nonprofits/Associations/Government—28.4%
  • Real Estate/Construction/Building Products—28.1%
  • Retail/Commerce—23.4%
  • Schools/Education—27%

Cart abandonment email open rates

Studies have repeatedly shown the value of having a strong email marketing campaign to address cart abandonment rates, which were slightly down in Q1 2018 when compared to Q4 2017, according to SalesCycle.

It listed the average cart abandonment rate at 75.6% in early 2018, slightly down from 77 percent in the last quarter of 2017. While the rate is slightly down, it’s still discouragingly high for the companies selling products and services online.

Here is a complete breakdown of cart abandonment statistics by industry from SalesCycle:

Cart abandonment by industry:

  • Nonprofit – 75.6%
  • Finance – 80.4%
  • Fashion – 69.1%
  • Retail – 75.6%
  • Travel – 81.1%

Unique cart abandonment open rates

With the high rate of cart abandonment, it should be encouraging to see a much higher open rate—an overall average of 48%—related to these email engagements.

Click-through rates

Across all U.S. industries, click-through rates averaged 3% in 2018, according to research reported by IBM/Watson Marketing. Here’s a further breakdown by industry:

  • Automotive/Transportation—6.5%
  • Banks/Finance—2.5%
  • Computer Hardware/Telecommunications—4.7%
  • Computer Software/Online Services—2.8%
  • Consumer Products—4.5%
  • Consumer Services—2.0%
  • Corporate Services—2.8%
  • Energy/Environmental—3.9%
  • Food/Beverage—3.8%
  • Hospitals/Healthcare/Biotech—3.3%
  • Industrial Products—2.3%
  • Insurance—4.6%
  • Leisure/Sports/Recreation—4.0%
  • Lodging/Travel Agencies/Services—3.8%
  • Marketing/Advertising—3.8%
  • Media/Publishing—2.7%
  • Nonprofits/Associations/Government—3.2%
  • Real Estate/Construction/Building Products—2.9%
  • Retail/Commerce—3.0%
  • Schools/Education—4.2%

Other email statistics

As you plan your 2019 digital marketing campaigns, consider these recent statistics related to email marketing and its continuing impact on your ability to boost engagement and increase your engagement with your subscribers.

  • Triggered campaigns have a 6.5% click rate compared to 1.6% “business as usual” campaigns—DMA
  • Triggered open rates were 64.3% higher than business as usual (BAU) during the 2nd quarter of 2018.—Epsilon
  • Triggered click rates performed nearly twice as better as BAU emails—8.2%, compared to 3.4% during the second quarter of 2018..—Epsilon
  • Spending on email marketing is expected to climb to $350 million by 2019, up from $270 million in 2015.—Statista
  • 48% of businesses reported that they were planning to increase spending on email marketing—Statista
  • About 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices—Campaign Monitor
  • 72% of survey respondents said they prefer to receive promotions through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.—MarketingSherpa
  • 80% of companies reported that segmentation continues to be their top priority for email marketing campaigns.—Email Marketing Industry Census 2017
  • An email campaign is 6x more likely to result in a click-through than from a tweet—Campaign Monitor

With email continuing to hold its position as one of the most effective marketing tools to engage your targeted audiences, marketers are finding it critical to explore advanced tools that can improve open rates and click-through rates.

Explore how Delivra’s email marketing software can help you develop personalized experiences with your subscribers—delivering messages that engage. Contact us about a demo today!

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