New Email Benchmark Report Shows Email Is Alive and Kicking in 2018

The report presents email engagement benchmarks for 17 different industries

For the third consecutive year, Denver-based SendGrid has released its Global Email Benchmark Report, which features data and benchmarks from more than 50 billion emails sent to more than 2 billion recipient addresses from more than 100,000 different senders. Despite what you may have heard about the state of email in 2018, the report confirms the communication is still, in fact, thriving today.

Specifically, the report presents email engagement benchmarks for 17 different industries, new delivery benchmarks like aggregate and median delivery rates, aggregate and median spam rates, insights into the top three inboxes and their recipient share in 25 countries, and the top three devices to engage with email in those countries. By compiling all of this data, SendGrid is giving email program managers a valuable tool to help measure and track their own programs, thereby helping them capture and gauge iterative improvements.

One of the biggest holistic trends the report uncovers is that unique open-rates have gone up, but unique click rates have gone down, causing a drop in click-to-open rate.

In 2018, aggregate open-rate increased to 18 percent from 14.6 percent in 2017, and aggregate click rate increased to 2 percent from 1.7 percent last year. This has led to the click-to-open rate leveling off around 11 percent, a slight drop from 2017.

These changes seem to reinforce that customers are becoming savvier when it comes to email. While they may be opening more, they aren’t necessarily engaging with a given email’s content. If anything, this makes a clear case for senders to increase the content of their email through greater personalization based on measured user behaviors.

During the 2017 holiday season, SendGrid noted a 3 percent decline in personalized subject lines, from 13 percent in 2016 to 10 percent in 2017. Although the industry is keen on promoting the immense benefit of personalization to improve brand stickiness and increase customer engagement, truly personalized content remains more aspirational than an actual tactic employed by the majority of senders. These numbers should in no way dissuade potential senders from moving away from personalized content aimed at achieving a ‘segment of one’ paradigm and opting for the batch and blast tactics of yesteryear.

Instead, senders should focus on learning as much about their customers as possible to ensure that when they’re ready to begin programmatically personalizing their content they have a wealth of foundational behavioral data.


Across all industries, median delivery rates are extremely high and median spam rates are all zero. This indicates that email senders are delivering messages to reputable email addresses with little to no bounce and that recipients are seldom marking these messages as spam.

In terms of industry demographics – with the exception of computers and electronics, financial services and energy and utilities – recipients skew slightly female.

As for how recipients are interacting with email, the findings should come as little surprise.

  • Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail are the three most commonly used inbox providers.
  • Mobile’s dominance continues to spread as well — emails are opened on mobile devices 55.6 percent of the time, yet another rallying cry for senders to design mobile responsive templates that take into account the new mobile-first paradigm.

Couple that with a slightly less aggressive quantity of email and you can easily pick out another pervasive trend in 2018: Lower monthly send for potentially higher engagement metrics. The aggregate monthly send in 2018 is just seven messages per month compared to nearly 10 in 2016, showcasing that senders are becoming more targeted and strategic when it comes to campaigns. The impact of this lower volume of sends is helping stem a tide of messaging fatigue. Perhaps the old adage is true:

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

For senders who are seeing delivery, open or spam rates significantly lower than the industry average, fret not. The report also includes a handy ROI Calculator you can use to determine how much impact those rates are having on your revenue. Now keep calm and email on, because the 2018 Global Email Benchmark Report irrefutably proves that email is here to stay and continues to slay.

Len Shneyder is the VP of industry relations at SendGrid.

Categories: Management & Leadership