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20 incredible email marketing statistics you should know

· 15 min read · Email marketing · Feb 18, 2021

You’ve heard people in business say “It’s a numbers game.” Though there’s more to email performance than relying too much on numbers, certain email marketing statistics do help you make better decisions.

For example, do you know the best day to send an email campaign? Or whether a shorter or longer subject line generates more opens? If you run the data or look at the industry research, you can get more insights that will benefit your email marketing strategy.

Luckily for you, we've compiled the research and insights from millions of email campaigns to help you improve your next email. In this blog, we’ll share the most interesting email marketing statistics that are valuable to use in 2021.

Let's take a look at these 20 email statistics that will help you craft a better email marketing strategy for your business!

1. News flash! Email is (still) not dead

Don’t believe any of the #fakenews on your timeline. According to Statista, there were 3.9 billion email users in 2019. In 2024, this number is expected to increase to 4.48 billion email users. That’s almost the same number as people living in Asia (4.6 billion in 2020). To put that in perspective, Asia’s population accounts for 59.67% of the total world population. 

Statista also expects the number of emails that are sent and received every day to increase from 293.6 billion (2019) to 347.3 billion (2022).

So yes, email should still be part of your marketing mix! Even in 2021, email is very much alive and kicking.

2. Email list signups are going up

When we researched the state of email marketing in 2020, this was an email marketing stat we didn’t see coming. The average weekly signups per account have increased by 34.9% since March 9, 2020.

This email stat indicates that with more time at home, people spend more time exploring new things online and subscribing to newsletters to keep in touch with brands.

Our tip? Quickly check whether your email signup forms need a makeover and create some amazing looking pop-ups to place on your website. MailerLite’s new pop-ups, that is.

3. Want value for your buck? Try email

Which marketing channel has the best return on investment?

You guessed it, it’s email! According to DMA’s 2019 research, you can expect to get a $42 email marketing ROI on every dollar you spend.

And that’s all we need to say about this email stat #micdrop.

4. Welcome emails are star performers

Are you setting the tone for your email relationship as soon as someone signs up? We can’t recommend it enough! Welcome emails are rockstar performers—in fact, they can double click through rates and increase open rates by 78%. Plus, sending an immediate welcome email can create 12x higher transaction rates, compared to if you send a welcome email later on (Cheetah Digital). 

5. Email marketing is expected to grow exponentially

The global email marketing market today is estimated at $7.5 billion, with $2 billion in the U.S. market. Within the next 7 years, the email market is expected to grow to $17.9 billion (ReportLinker). 

Noteworthy markets with a lot of potential for growth are China (estimated to grow with 17.4%, reaching $4 billion in 2027), Canada (11.7%) and Japan (9.4%).

6. Birthday emails will surprise you (and your customers)

In their birthday email research, Experian found that automated birthday emails are worth all the hype. They generate 481% higher transaction rates, have 342% higher revenue per email, 179% higher unique CTRs and 53% higher open rates than other promotional emails.

To learn more about creating birthday emails with MailerLite (and other best practices), head over to our blog article below.

7. The people voted! Email is vital for their business

Most companies rely on email as their primary marketing channel, as Litmus showed in the fall edition of their “2020 State of Email” report. 

In the study, 77% of marketers claimed that email marketing is one of their two most effective digital marketing channels. In 2020, 7% more marketing executives said that email marketing is vital to the overall success of their company (making it 78% in total). 

The main takeaway: Make email a part of your marketing strategy. In fact, put it front and center.

8. Numbered email subject lines can increase your opens

Our own research from 2020 showed that for US and Canada accounts, subject lines that contained numbers showed the highest open rates. Those with numbers averaged 24.97% and those without numbers had an average email open rate of 23.34%.

Though, interestingly, the significant increase of 2% was only found in specific industries (such as Media and Publishing, Retail and Photo and Video). To get the full gist, read our ultimate guide to subject lines. And if you want to try something a little different, check out our article on using emojis in subject lines.

9. Email beats social media in engagement

There’s a fine line between engagement and constant interruption. With email, you’re not relying on algorithms to “hopefully” put your message in front of the right people. When you send a Tweet or post on Facebook, you can’t be sure who ends up seeing the content. 

With email marketing, you know exactly who engages. You can target your emails and track who opened your marketing messages.

It’s not surprising that email beats social media by far in terms of engagement. OptinMonster found that the overall engagement rate on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is 0.58%. In comparison, the average open rate for emails across all industries is 22.86%, with an average click-through rate (CTR) of 3.71%.

10. Preheaders are the secret weapon to boost email open rates

When we checked our own data, we realized that 90% of MailerLite customers don’t actually use custom preheaders—and that’s such a shame! Especially since they’re the email element that can give you a competitive advantage. Though your personal open rate growth depends on your target group and email performance, it’s safe to say that using a preheader is much better than leaving the space unused.

11. B2B marketers love email to nurture leads

Research by the Content Marketing Institute (2020) showed that 31% of all B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads, with short articles/blog posts coming in second (13%) and in-person events and case studies sharing the third spot (9%).

12. Content marketers use email to track overall performance

There are many tools to see how well your content marketing is performing, but your email software can be a great indicator! 

The Content Marketing Institute (2020) found that 90% of all B2B marketers use email engagement to measure performance. This statistic is followed by website traffic (88%), website engagement (86%), social media analytics (83%) and conversion rate (78%).

13. Weekdays are best for hitting send

Many agree that emails sent on a Tuesday are more likely to be opened, compared to other weekdays. In our own research, we found that Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays can also be favorable. When looking at our American and Canadian customers, we saw that the open rates are fairly consistent throughout the entire week. So yes, we’d recommend sending your email campaign on a weekday.

Furthermore, our research found that Sunday is the worst day for open rates, and email marketers generally agree that weekends are the worst time to send out an email campaign.

14. A personal touch is still the way to go

It’s a trend that’ll never go out of style! Making your emails more personal will pay off, and you can start with personalized subject lines. 

In 2020, Forbes found that 70% of millennials feel frustrated when they receive irrelevant marketing emails. At the end of the day, we’re all human, and personalized emails show your subscribers that you care.

Apart from the subject line, there are plenty of other ways to use personalization in email. The guide below will teach you all the ways to target email subscribers more personally in your campaigns.

A study by SmarterHQ further stressed the importance of personalization. They found that 72% of shoppers will only engage with messages if they are personalized. So if you want to boost your sales, then the stats suggest that personalized emails are the way forward!

15. E-commerce purchases through email are on the rise

With everyone being mostly homebound this year, e-commerce sales have gone up for many industries. According to Common Thread Collective, e-commerce categories like Medical, Food and Beverage and Health and Wellness all saw their sales increasing. But for industries like Auto or Tools and Bags or Travel, sales sadly decreased.

This general increase in e-commerce sales also led to more purchases through emails. Our own research found that email purchases have risen from 6,179 to 12,154. That’s a 96.7% increase!

Tip: Did you know that with the Stripe integration, you can sell digital products or subscriptions directly on your MailerLite websites and landing pages? Learn more in this article.

16. Abandoned cart emails are a must

The term window shopping is now also a thing in the online spheres. Data shows that the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is as high as 69.57%. That’s a lot of products that were checked out, but never really checked out (get it… *wink wink*).

Baymard Institute found that most people change their minds because of the unexpected extra costs whilst checking out—such as shipping, fees and taxes. Furthermore, “just browsing/not being ready to buy” and “checkout process too long/complicated” were also often mentioned.

Though these marketing stats sound discouraging, it also means abandoned carts have huge potential! A website audit can help, but don’t forget about abandoned cart emails either. These types of emails can win back 12-15% of your shoppers!

Tip: To see how to set up abandoned cart emails for Shopify and WooCommerce with MailerLite, click below.

17. Mobile email marketing is key

Mobile use is growing and growing! Mobile opens now account for 61% of all email opens (MarTech Series, 2021). 

To make sure your emails display correctly and can be easily read on mobile devices, it’s important to make your emails responsive. In the article below we’ve collected our best practices for responsive email design.

18. People use iPhone to read emails

When Litmus Email Analytics tracked 870 million email opens worldwide in August 2020, they found that 35% of all people use Apple iPhone as their email client. This number was followed by Gmail (27%), Apple Mail (11%) and Outlook (10%).

19. Make it interactive

Turn your subscribers from passive readers to active participants! Interactive email content is anything that encourages your subscribers to take action in your email. For example, you might include an embedded survey or an accordion menu (which unfurls when people click on each heading). 

Studies have shown that open rates can increase by 73% when interactive content is used in emails. In the article below, we’ll show you all the different types of interactive content you can include in your MailerLite newsletters. 

20. Open rates are on the rise

We’ve analyzed our metrics across every industry, and the results are in! Open rates have increased by a whopping 7% in 2020, showing that email marketing is hotter than ever. Curious to see how your industry is doing? Then check out our 2020 industry benchmarks summary below:

A last note on email marketing statistics

To wrap up our email marketing statistics, we’ll say it once again: A/B testing is your magic genie!

Though all these other email stats help you make better decisions and offer direction for your own email marketing strategy, you’ll still need to test to find out exactly what works for your audience.

So, create that welcome email, schedule your next campaign on Tuesday and play around with preheaders. The more you experiment and analyze your email results, the better you’ll understand what works (and what doesn’t). Good luck!

Do you analyze your email performance? If so, what have you learned about your audience so far?

P.S. Do you have another 5 minutes to read about email marketing? Get inspired by these 31 email marketing quotes, with gems from people like Dan Munz, who said: “How to write a good email: 1. Write your email. 2. Delete most of it. 3. Send”.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in October 2020, and has now been updated with the latest sources and statistics.

Jonas Fischer
Jonas Fischer
I'm Jonas, Content Manager at MailerLite. I’m not the 4th Jonas Brother, but I do write content (which is similar to being a teen heartthrob). After writing for a bunch of companies over the years, I discovered my professional passion—helping add some humanity to B2B marketing. Email is the perfect place to start!