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How do you compare? 2021 average email open rates, clickthrough rates, and marketing statistics compilation

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 18 Mar, 2021
Essential Essential topic

Our compilation of average email open rates and click-through rate data. What's a good open rate for email? Read the best email statistics sources to benchmark your email campaigns in your industry sector

Email marketers often ask "how do our campaigns compare"? They're looking for email statistics to compare subscriber engagement for average email open rate, clickthrough, delivery, unsubscribe and complaints rates, ideally within their sector. That's what we cover in this regularly updated compilation of the best email marketing response statistics for different sectors and countries.

Fortunately, there are a number of good options to benchmark email response across different sectors. The best stats sources are compilations by email marketing service providers who produce statistics across their clients' campaigns. We have grouped the stats into the four top questions asked:

For the most meaningful comparisons, we need to go beyond industry averages and drill down to the comparison of email types. For example, transactional emails such as a welcome sequence tend to have much higher interaction and click-through rates than a regular newsletter.

The benchmark statistics on email response vary depending on the types of email platform vendor used to send email. Lower-cost platforms tend to have SMB customers who are less well-known brands and this will mean that they have a different response from higher-cost enterprise email platforms which are better-known brands.

Email statistics - March 2021 update

We will continue to update these stats through 2021 as new reports are produced by the main email platforms which we link to show the latest open rates and clickthrough rates.

Of course, reading about marketing stats is meaningless without an effective, data-driven marketing strategy behind you. Our popular Learning Paths empower marketers and managers with marketing training proven to generate results from strategy and planning to channel specialisms, we've got the marketing tools and templates to help you win more customers.

Our popular Email Marketing and Automation Learning Path guides you through the step-by-step process of planning, managing and optimizing your email marketing. All our training is integrated across our renowned RACE Framework. So you can tweak your strategies and tactics to deliver strong results across the customer lifecycle of reach, act, convert and engage. Get started today.

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Q1. What are the email open and clickthrough rates by industry?

This table, from data published as of 9 March 2021, gives the average email open and clickthrough rates by industry. The overall average open rate is 16.97%, with a 10.29% CTR - how do your email rates compare?

Email averages by industry

We do have other industry sector breakdowns of response later in this post, but since Constant Constant and Mailchimp send billions of emails a month for more than 10 million users this is probably the largest global sample of email response that has been created. They are skewed to smaller businesses using their free account options, though.

The most recent 2020 GetResponse Email marketing benchmarks sector summary also includes unsubscribe and spam rates in the full report.

Email averages industry

It's a useful report because it has the breakdown of opens, clicks and unsubscribes by industry for B2B and B2C markets. This shows a much lower response in some sectors such as Events, Education, and Legal Services.

The most recent 2020 GetResponse Email marketing benchmarks gives a worldwide average of open and clickthrough rates by country and by sector. This gives one of the best sources for comparing email response statistics by region.

Average email open rate globally

Q2. What are the email engagement rates for larger businesses?

The results for Getresponse and Constant Contact are more typical of smaller and mid-size businesses, rather than large brands.

This Email benchmark compilation 2020 from Accoustic (formerly IBM marketing and commerce) represents 750 companies representing 3,000 brands in 40 countries. So breakdowns by EMEA, UK, US and APAC are available too. I've selected the breakdown by industry which is more useful to compare your performance with.

But what is the average email open rate? Here are the open rates with the mean showing the variation from the poorest performing sectors like publishing and tech to consumer brands and non-profits.

Average email open rate by sector

Rather than click-through rates that are also available in the report, I have picked out Click-to-open which shows engagement with the copy and creative. As a rule of thumb you should look for 10 to 15% CTOR, so can compare emails against this benchmark.

Email Click to Open rate

Finally, from this benchmark, I thought it would be useful to share the data on list churn as indicated by hard bounce rates and spam complaint rates. You don't want to go too high on these since you could have a problem with inbox delivery and likely your ESP will get in touch.

Email unsubscribe rate

Email complaint rate

Q3. What is the breakdown of market share for email clients on mobile and desktop?

Litmus, one of the best sources for stats on email marketing, regularly produces a summary of reading environments and email clients.

This chart summarizing their research shows the rise of mobile email marketing to the point that nearly half of emails are opened on smartphones and tablets.

Email client market share

The latest Litmus compilation of email client market share shows why it's so important to consider how well your emails render on mobile. It's based on the percentage of opens on different platforms.

Q4. What is a good open and clickthrough rate? How do these differ for different industries?

Although we are presenting averages in this article, to answer this question it's important to go beyond averages in your analysis of your email marketing so you can compare 'apples with apples'. It's worth segmenting your email response in this way:

  • By email type (see below)
  • By offer type
  • By audience demographics

This will give you a better indication of performance as will analysis by revenue per 1000 emails sent. To show the difference of email type, the GetResponse Email marketing benchmarks include these averages by email opens.

Average email open rate and click through rate

It's no surprise that triggered and autoresponder (welcome) emails have higher open and click rates since they are more relevant or immediate, more in the context of an action that a subscriber has taken. It shows the power of marketing automation.

Sales Cycle also has some good insight showing response rates for remarketing emails like cart abandonment email rates in their 2019 E-commerce Remarketing report.

Cart Abandon Email rate

Next steps for your email marketing

Looking to optimize your email marketing strategy? Join thousands of Smart Insights members using Learning Paths to inform their email marketing opportunities, strategies, and actions. Plus, when you implement Smart Insights marketing tools and templates, you can plan and measure your results through our popular RACE Framework structure, proven to generate growth.

Our Learning Paths are packed with the latest marketing channel innovations and best practices, informed by data and trends. Managers can utilize our RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path to plan, manage and optimize their full omnichannel marketing strategies. Get started today.

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Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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