Email trends and benchmarks show strong email engagement for retailers in pivotal Q4 2017

As retailers start preparing for 2018's holiday season, it’s always a good idea to inform campaign decisions based on what’s happening in the rest of the industry. Epsilon's Q4 2017 email trends and benchmarks report helps; with quarterly aggregated data from over 20 billion emails sent by Epsilon clients in North America, across multiple verticals. 

What happened in Q4?

Notable industry performance in the report shows strong performance for retail general emails in Q4 2017 when compared to other industries. During the important holiday shopping season retail general emails saw a 99.0 percent non-bounce rate, an open rate of 47.4 percent and a click-through rate of 4.2 percent.

“Email marketing has long been one of the highest revenue-generating channels and continues to be an important channel for the retail industry specifically. The last quarter of the year is always an important time for retailers and the engagement rates we saw in Q4 2017 are a good sign that retailers continue to drive effective and personalized communications to reach consumers in the inbox,” shared Judy Loschen, Senior Vice President, Digital Analytics at Epsilon. “Moving forward, marketers need to think about personalizing every component of the messaging experience to the individual, which will eliminate the waste associated with non-relevant campaigns that customers ignore and improve a brand’s overall Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).”

Business as Usual methodology and email trends

The Q4 2017 Business as Usual (BAU) email trends and benchmarks analyzed performance trends by industry and message type. These metrics offer insight into how the average company performed across multiple industry categories. This study was compiled from 18.4 billion emails sent from October to December 2017 across multiple industries and approximately 170 clients.

  • The Q4 2017 open rate of 32.1 percent is slightly above last quarter (31.2 percent).
  • The click-through rate for Q4 2017 (3.5 percent) increased slightly over the course of two quarters after dipping in Q2 2017 (3.0 percent).
  • The non-bounce rate remained steady in Q4 2017 (97.3 percent) from Q3 2017 (97.8 percent) and in line with Q4 2016 (97.0 percent).


Triggered message methodology and email trends

Triggered message benchmarks were analyzed from approximately 3.6 billion triggered emails sent from October 2015 to December 2017, across multiple industries. These messages were sent as the result of a consumer action, such as Welcome, Thank You or Confirmation. These metrics also highlight significant performance differences between triggered and BAU emails.

  • Triggered messages accounted for 3.1 percent of total email volume in Q4 2017, lower than last year (5.4 percent) but higher than Q3 2017 (2.5 percent).
  • Triggered open rates were 58.3 percent higher than BAU in Q4 2017 and higher than the Q4 2016 lift of 57.0 percent over BAU open rates.
  • Triggered click rates continued to perform well in Q4 2017, showing an 88 percent lift over BAU.


What's ahead?

Delivering a truly personal experience for each customer is the best way for brands to stand out in the inbox today. It isn’t just a “nice-to-have” anymore: it is truly an expectation of the consumer. A recent Epsilon study found that 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with brands that offer personalized experiences. Take advantage of your high-performing email environment as an opportunity to break into better personalized experiences for your consumers.

For more insights download the full Q4 2017 email trends and benchmarks