All email marketers rightly want to know how they’re doing in relation to their industry peers. To answer those questions, this piece begins a series of industry deep-dives made possible by the extensive data asset on the eDataSource platform. We will also be publishing a full White Paper, benchmarking email performance metrics across all key industries for 2018.
Our focus today is on Retail and Q4. We analyzed promotional email for over 2,400 retail brands in eight key retail sectors. The table below shows overall read rate and inbox performance ranked by quartile for the fourth quarters of 2018 and 2017. (Additional data details and methodology can be found below.)
These data establish a bar. If you’re a retail brand, and your email activity ranks beneath any of the performance averages shown below, there may be considerable revenue upside in identifying opportunities to replace, restructure or eliminate what’s underperforming.
Cutting to the chase for Q4 2018, average read rates run from a high of 26% for brands in the top-ranked quartile for that metric, down to 7% in the bottom quartile. Inbox rates range from 95% for brands In the top quartile for that metric, down to 53% in the bottom quartile. In general, year-over-year read rates have improved, while inbox performance has eroded somewhat in the lower quartiles.
|Q4||Key Retail Sectors|
|Average Read Rates||Average Inbox Rates||Average Spam Rates|
The table below shows overall Q4 brand activity and performance averages for each of the eight key retail sectors we analyzed, adding campaign and email deployment counts for each. Not surprisingly, the largest of these are in the Online Shopping and Retail & Department Stores sectors. The performance data don’t reflect major differences across the sectors. Marginally, the highest read rates are in the latter, and in the Sporting Goods sector. We see the strongest inbox performance in the Retail & Department Stores and Supermarkets sectors. Year-over-year, campaign counts have increased for most sectors while email volumes have decreased, suggesting the possibility of improved audience targeting.
|Industry Brand Averages
|# of Brands Included||Campaign Count||Email Volume(000)||Read Rate||Inbox Rate||Spam Rate|
|Apparel and Acccessories||916||866||39||38||23,394||24,334||16%||15%||79%||83%||21%||17%|
|Cosmetics, Fragrances & Beauty||363||355||43||40||18,068||23,893||16%||15%||76%||82%||24%||18%|
|Gifts and Remembrances||184||179||49||42||34,299||23,851||16%||15%||75%||81%||25%||19%|
|Retail & Department Stores||113||112||135||113||186,891||175,861||16%||15%||85%||89%||15%||11%|
|Supermarkets, Food & Drug Stores||122||115||60||81||34,791||38,408||17%||16%||86%||90%||14%||10%|
Note on Methodology: Included in this analysis are promotional (as opposed to transactional and administrative; e.g., loyalty-related) emails for brands with a Projected Panel Reach of 100,000 or greater.
…Next up in our Deliverability Benchmarking Series?
Travel (just in time for spring break)! Stay tuned.