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Email marketing benchmarks for 2024 (by industry)

· 24 min read · Email marketing · Dec 27, 2023
Sofia, Customer Support team.

All runners know how great it feels to beat your personal record. But sometimes it's nice to take to the track and compare your time to others. Email benchmarks are the email marketing equivalent of race days.

Use them to compare your email metrics with businesses in your industry and see how your campaigns stack up.  

To help you measure email performance, we analyzed our internal data to come up with a comprehensive list of industry benchmarks. We've also included insights and best practices to help you improve.

Read on to see the data and use it to inform your 2024 campaign goals. 👇

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are internal metrics that help you track campaign performance. Benchmarks are external metrics that show wider industry performance and allow you to compare your campaigns to others. 

An example of an email marketing KPI is the open rate or click rate of the campaigns you send. The benchmarks in this article are the average open rate and click rate of all campaigns in a data set of emails sent on our platform.

It’s important to track both KPIs and benchmarks. KPIs are typically more insightful as they relate to the performance of your campaigns. But it’s still extremely useful to know how others in your industry are performing to see how your efforts stack up and where you can make improvements. 

We analyzed data from over 24,000 approved accounts from MailerLite customers based in the USA, Canada and UK in 2023. We only included email marketing campaigns sent to more than 10 recipients. The eventual dataset included over 764,000 campaigns.

A note on the metrics

Apple Mail Privacy Protection went into effect in September 2021. Apple Mail now masks IP addresses and inhibits senders from seeing whether or not recipients opened their emails.

Messages sent to Apple Mail accounts are automatically marked as opened which means real open rates are lower than the metrics you see in your dashboard and in this article. Your actual click-to-open rate will also be higher due to the inflated number of opens recorded.

Read more about how the Apple Privacy changes may have impacted your campaign metrics.

First up, here are the general email marketing averages across all industries. These are a good guide to see how you compare against all the accounts in our dataset.

Average open rate: 41.31%

% of the total recipients that opened the email.

Average click rate: 3.01%

% that clicked in the email out of the total recipients who were delivered it.

Average click-to-open rate (CTR): 7.38%

% that clicked in the email out of the total recipients who were delivered and opened it.

Average unsubscribe rate: 0.24%

% of the total recipients who clicked the unsubscribe link.

Average bounce rate: 0.41%

% of email addresses that could not be delivered to successfully.

2024 email marketing average benchmark stats
2024 email marketing benchmarks

Next, here are email marketing benchmarks broken down by industry. Don’t worry if you’re underperforming, we go into further detail about how you can improve each metric later in this article. 

Industry Open rate Click rate CTOR Unsubscribe rate Bounce rate
Agency 39.16% 3.77% 9.63% 0.33% 0.75%
Agriculture and Food Services 44.3% 3.29% 7.42% 0.23% 0.26%
Animal Care and Veterinary 45.79% 3.26% 7.12% 0.33% 0.41%
Architecture and Construction 42.9% 4.07% 9.49% 0.51% 1.39%
Author 39.02% 3.55% 9.11% 0.36% 0.32%
Beauty and Personal Care 41.46% 2.09% 5.04% 0.34% 0.34%
Blogger 43% 5.25% 12.22% 0.18% 0.26%
Business and Finance 39.48% 1.1% 2.79% 0.17% 0.27%
Computers and Electronics 45.65% 2.04% 4.47% 0.1% 0.24%
Construction 32.48% 4.55% 14.01% 0.3% 1.31%
Consulting 39.09% 2.37% 6.05% 0.3% 0.44%
E-commerce 38.58% 2.08% 5.4% 0.25% 0.31%
Education and Training 44.04% 2.69% 6.1% 0.23% 0.49%
Entertainment and Events 38.1% 1.9% 4.97% 0.23% 0.28%
Games 32.02% 3.75% 11.7% 0.15% 0.16%
Government 46.94% 3.87% 8.24% 0.1% 0.37%
Health and Fitness 42.7% 2.41% 5.65% 0.32% 0.31%
Hobbies 40.08% 3.67% 9.16% 0.23% 0.29%
Home and Garden 41.94% 4.52% 10.77% 0.27% 0.31%
Insurance 48.11% 2.58% 5.37% 0.35% 0.64%
Legal 42.45% 2.06% 4.86% 0.37% 0.71%
Manufacturing 34.48% 4.37% 12.67% 0.23% 0.67%
Marketing and Advertising 33.62% 2.02% 6% 0.18% 0.21%
Media and Publishing 34.65% 3.08% 8.88% 0.19% 0.28%
Medical, Dental, and Healthcare 46.67% 2.68% 5.74% 0.33% 0.54%
Music and Musicians 40.68% 1.67% 4.11% 0.24% 0.5%
Non-profit 46.49% 3.78% 8.14% 0.17% 0.42%
Other 40.97% 2.84% 6.94% 0.27% 0.33%
Photo and Video 43.74% 2.13% 4.86% 0.43% 0.39%
Politics 42.39% 4.61% 10.87% 0.15% 0.32%
Public Relations 44.08% 1.96% 4.44% 0.10% 0.22%
Real Estate 40.1% 2.77% 6.9% 0.18% 0.3%
Recruitment and Staffing 44.5% 1.8% 4.03% 0.3% 0.27%
Religion 44.24% 5.11% 11.54% 0.17% 0.31%
Restaurant 43.56% 1.75% 4.02% 0.41% 0.39%
Retail 41.24% 2.65% 6.42% 0.13% 0.24%
Software and Web App 43.72% 1% 2.3% 0.22% 0.33%
Sports 39.3% 4.3% 10.95% 0.16% 0.24%
Telecommunications 40.52% 4.89% 12.06% 0.06% 0.18%
Travel and Transportation 40.31% 1.98% 4.91% 0.21% 0.48%

Here is a deeper dive into each individual metric, as well as the top and bottom-performing industries. Data is nothing without insight, so we'll also highlight the potential things each industry is doing right (or wrong). Use these learnings to guide your own campaigns.

Open rates email industry benchmarks

Open rate shows the percentage of the total campaign recipients that opened the email. The average email open rate across all campaigns was 41.31%. While the email open rate by industry ranged from 32.02% up to 46.94%.

While Apple Mail Privacy Protection means real open rates are lower than the recorded number, the data is still useful as accounts across every field were impacted. Industries with high open rates would still have comparatively high open rates even without the Apple Privacy changes.   

Email open rates 2023 vs. 2022
Email open rates 2023 vs. 2022

Here’s a deeper look at the industries with the highest and lowest percentage of opens.

🎉 Top industries: Open rate

The industry with the best email open rate was the government. This was very closely followed by the medical and dental then non-profit industries.

It’s easy to see why these industries have such good open rates—they come from trustworthy institutions and the campaigns are likely to contain important information. I worry for the 53.3% of people who didn’t open the emails from their healthcare provider!

Best open rates
  1. Government (46.94%)

  2. Medical, dental, and healthcare (46.67%)

  3. Non-profit (46.49%)

📉 Bottom industries: Open rate

This year’s worst-performing industry was games, which had an open rate of 32.02%. Construction had the next lowest open rates, followed by marketing and advertising in third place. 

If you work in any of these industries, consider upgrading your subject lines to improve open rates. Read this article to find out how to write more enticing subject lines.

Lower open rates
  1. Games (32.02%)

  2. Construction (32.48%)

  3. Marketing and advertising (33.62%)

Interesting insight: Aim for quality, not quantity. You can increase your open rate by cleaning your email list. This will remove low-quality, outdated and spam email accounts that don’t interact with your marketing emails. 

While this will cause your list size to decrease, it’s no loss as these people weren’t interacting with your messages. Smaller, highly engaged lists are better for your email marketing metrics and potentially your wallet as you may spend less on email marketing if you send fewer emails.

Click rates email industry benchmarks

Email click rate shows the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link in your message. The average email click rate across all email marketing campaigns was 3.01%. Considering how Apple’s Privacy changes impact open rate and CTOR, this is currently the most accurate indicator of email newsletter engagement.

Email click rate 2022 vs 2023
Email click rates 2022 vs 2023

🎉 Top industries: Click rate

Emails sent by bloggers had the highest click rates at 5.25%. This was closely followed by religion at 5.11% and emails sent by telecommunications firms at 4.89%. 

It’s easy to guess why emails from bloggers had high click rates. These types of newsletters often include lots of links to relevant content on the bloggers’ websites, which encourages clicks. 

Best click rates
  1. Bloggers (5.25%) 

  2. Religion (5.11%)

  3. Telecommunications (4.89%)

📉 Bottom industries: Click rate

The industries with the lowest click rates were software and web apps, business and finance, and music and musicians.

Despite the low click rates, each of these industries had respectable open rates. This suggests the messages were still delivering value. The lower click rates may simply be due to these messages containing less clickable content.  

Lowest click rates
  1. Software and web app (1.00%)

  2. Business and finance (1.10%) 

  3. Music and musicians (1.67%)

Interesting insight: Overall click rates stayed relatively stable from 2022 to 2023, dropping ever so slightly from 3.36% to 3.01%. The biggest drop came in the architecture and construction industry which was -1.61%, while the biggest increase was in politics which jumped 3.52%.

CTOR email industry benchmarks

Like click rate, click-to-open rate (CTOR) indicates how many recipients clicked on a link somewhere within the email. The difference is that click-to-open rate only considers recipients who opened the email. The average email click-to-open rate was 7.38%.

Email click-to-open rate 2022 vs 2023
Email click-to-open rate 2022 vs 2023

🎉 Top industries: Click-to-open rate

The winner in this category is construction. This was followed by manufacturing and then bloggers. 

The data shows you can combine a low open rate with a good click-to-open rate. Construction had the second-worst open rate but the highest CTOR! 

Best CTORs
  1. Construction (14.01%)

  2. Manufacturing (12.67%)

  3. Bloggers (12.22%)

📉 Bottom industries: Click-to-open rate

Software and web apps and business and finance combine low click rates with low click-to-open rates. The restaurant industry takes the third spot with an average click-to-open rate of just 4.02%.

Lower CTORs
  1. Software and web app (2.30%)

  2. Business and finance (2.79%)

  3. Restaurants (4.02%)

How to get more clicks 👇

Consider including more clickable content in your messages to increase click-to-open rates. You could add links to your website or third-party content, create surveys or quizzes, embed social content, or even just ask people to click to confirm they received your message. 

Unsubscribes email industry benchmarks 2023

Unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients who click the unsubscribe link in your email. The average unsubscribe rate across all campaigns was 0.24%.

People who leave your list won’t receive your emails, so you want to minimize unsubscribes as much as possible. Use unsubscribe surveys to find out why people leave your list and then improve your email content based on this insight. 

Email unsubscribe rate 2022 vs. 2023
Email unsubscribe rates 2022 vs. 2023

🎉 Top industries: Unsubscribe rate

The good news is that unsubscribe rates are low across all industries. People rarely opt out of receiving emails. 

Telecommunications maintains its position as the industry with the lowest unsubscribe rate. Only 0.06% of people unsubscribed from each email, which is down from 0.07% the previous year. People must love hearing from their telecom providers!

Public relations, government, and computer and electronics all have industry average unsubscribe rates of 0.10%. This is particularly impressive as these three industries also have open rates of over 44%. 

Best unsubscribe rates
  1. Telecommunications (0.06%)

  2. Public relations (0.10%)

  3. Government (0.10%)

  4. Computer and electronics (0.10%)

📉 Bottom industries: Unsubscribe rate

The architecture and construction industry has the highest unsubscribe rate of all industries, followed by photo and video, then restaurants. 

The good news is that while these are the industries with the highest unsubscribe rates in our dataset, only a tiny fraction of people unsubscribe after each campaign.

Higher unsubscribe rates
  1. Architecture and construction (0.51%)

  2. Photo and video (0.43%)

  3. Restaurant (0.41%)

Bounces email industry benchmarks

Bounced emails are messages that could not be delivered. Emails can bounce for various reasons, and a high bounce rate can negatively impact your overall email deliverability. The average email bounce rate last year was 0.41%, with the average bounce rate by industry ranging from 0.16% up to 1.39%.

There are two types of bounce: learn the difference between soft bounces and hard bounces here.

Bounce rate benchmarks 2022 vs 2023
Bounce rate benchmarks 2022 vs 2023

🎉 Top industries: Bounce rate

This year, games had the lowest email bounce rate of any industry. Telecommunication was next, proving that companies in this industry are experts at delivering email as well as phone and radio communication. Marketing and advertising filled out the top three. 

Overall bounce rates were very low, with the average in our dataset being just 0.41%. This suggests that MailerLite customers are doing all they can to follow good email-sending practices. 🙌

Best bounce rates
  1. Games  (0.16%)

  2. Telecommunications  (0.18%)

  3. Marketing and advertising (0.21%)

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MailerLite is consistently rated as one of the top email marketing providers for deliverability, meaning our customers are more likely to reach their subscribers' inboxes. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to see how this could impact your campaign.

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📉 Bottom industries: Bounce rate

At 1.39%, the architecture and construction industry had by far the highest bounce rate. This was followed by construction which had a bounce rate of 1.31%. These were the only industries with an average bounce rate of over 1%! Next up was agencies, which had a bounce rate of 0.75%. 

Consider cleaning your email list if you’re in any of these industries and you notice your bounce rate is quite high. This will help you only send messages to valid email addresses that people currently use. 

Higher bounce rates
  1. Architecture and construction (1.39%)

  2. Construction (1.31%)

  3. Agencies (0.75%)

Whether your current metrics are falling below the industry standards or you want to outshine the competition: Here are 4 ways to start improving your email success metrics right now.

1. Increase email open rate

Open rate best practices still work even though Apple is giving us a hard time tracking results. The percentage of Apple Mail subscribers on your list will typically stay consistent, making it possible to see changes in open rate, even if the overall percentage of opens is higher than it would otherwise be.  

The first thing you can do to improve your open rate is create more eye-catching email subject lines. The key here is relevance. Trying to entice readers with a catchy headline is actually not as effective as being descriptive. 

You can also experiment with personalization, using numbers in your headlines or trying keywords that tend to correlate with high open rates. Find out more about these tactics for writing great subject lines here. 

MailerLite customers can also use our new Smart sending tool to get an open rate boost. This uses subscriber data to send your emails at the exact time each person on your list is most likely to engage with the message. The result is more opens and campaign success.

Another thing to bear in mind is your email cadence. You can fine-tune the number of emails you send to generate higher open rates. Some audiences might prefer weekly newsletters, whilst others want to hear from you daily. Get to know your subscribers and find that optimal sending frequency.  

How to improve email open rate:

  • Personalize the subject line

  • A/B test different variations of the subject line (length, tone, CTA, emoji)

  • Add an email preheader and give people a compelling reason to open

  • Try different sender name variations

  • Test combinations of subject line and sender name with multivariate testing

  • Send your email campaign from a different email address

  • Experiment sending on different days of the week or at different sending times to work out the best time to send your email

  • Clean up inactive subscribers to reduce the percentage of subscribers who ignore your messages

2. Increase email click-to-open rate

Segmenting your email list into smaller groups can seriously improve open and click rates. The best-performing industries segment their lists more, so their audience always receives emails that interest them.

Another way to get more clicks is simply to include more engaging content for your subscribers to click on. Consider adding product boxes, links, surveys, quizzes and galleries. Discover more tips for boosting email engagement rates here.

Additionally, if your email includes an offer, use a strong call-to-action to motivate readers to click through.

How to improve email click-to-open rate:

  • Segment subscribers into smaller, more relevant groups

  • Improve the relevancy of your content

  • Double-check if the subject line reflects your email content

  • Design buttons and links so they're prominently displayed

  • Make the copy and CTA more engaging

  • Offer (better) incentives for people to click

  • A/B test different email scripts to see what resonates with your audience

  • Give subscribers more things to click on! Add blog post links, surveys, quizzes, resources libraries, or anything else that is useful to your target audience

Your CTA cheatsheet ✅

To learn how to make an enticing CTA, check out our ultimate guide to creating calls to action that work.

3. Decrease unsubscribes and bounces

You can’t get rid of unsubscribes and bounces entirely, but you can keep them to a minimum by following these best practices:

  • Use double opt-in for signups to grow a healthy list and improve deliverability

  • Send your campaigns more frequently to build a relationship with readers, and stick to a regular schedule

  • Regularly clean your email list with an email validation tool

  • Make your email content more relevant to your subscribers' interests and needs

  • Make sure your subject line reflects the content in your email so you meet the reader's expectations

If in doubt, start automating! 💪

Did you know that you can create an automated flow that delivers your email to each individual at the perfect time? It’s really easy to do, read our ultimate guide to email marketing automation to find out more.

4. Optimize email metrics with testing

Testing helps you identify which types of content and subject lines generate engagement. MailerLite users have access to both A/B testing and multivariate testing.

A/B testing is when you create 2 versions of an email while changing a single element, such as subject lines or content. You then send each version to a percentage of your email list to see which produces the best results. 

For example, you can test different subject lines to see which has the best open rates, or you can test calls-to-action to improve your click rate. 

Multivariate testing is similar but allows you to test multiple elements at once. You can test subject line and sender name combinations to see which version results in the most opens. Or you could test subject lines and email content to see which generates clicks.

MailerLite’s multivariate testing feature allows you to test 3 variables out of subject line, sender’s name, email content, and sending time.

Version A or B? 🤔

Check out our ultimate guide to email marketing A/B testing to take the guesswork out of your email marketing strategy.

How did your email metrics compare to those in your industry? Knowing the email benchmarks of competing businesses helps you set up smarter goals and work to improve your email campaigns.

In the spirit of "New Year, New Me(trics)", take a moment to decide on one email metric to improve this year. Choose something that relates to your business goals and is unlikely to be impacted by Apple Privacy changes. Share your goal publicly in the comments below to keep yourself accountable. 💪

Hit your goals with MailerLite

MailerLite has all the features you need to succeed at email marketing this year. Take it for a test drive with a 30-day free trial of all premium features.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated with new benchmark data.

Duncan Elder
Duncan Elder
I’m Duncan, a content writer at MailerLite. I love building websites with no-code tools and writing about what I learn. I created my first site in 2011 with Blogger—it’s safe to say that website builders have improved a lot since then!