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Inbox placement rates have improved in the US over the past year or so, but 23% of emails from US senders still fail to reach the inbox. That’s according to Return Path’s latest annual Deliverability Benchmark Report [download page], which looks at deliverability across countries and industries.

During the 12-month period spanning from Q3 2016 through Q2 2017, Return Path found that US senders experienced an average inbox placement rate of 77%. That’s up from 73% in the prior analysis, which covered the preceding 5-quarter period.

Some 8% of emails landed in the spam folder, while 16% were classified as “missing” in that they never made their way past the initial gateway. Although it’s possible that some emails that land in spam folders are read by their intended recipients, previous research from Return Path indicates that only about 1% of emails are marked as not spam.

US Deliverability Rate Still Lags Other Countries

Across the 8 countries measured, an average of 80% of emails reached the inbox during the yearlong period of analysis, slightly above the US’ 77% average.

In fact, the US’ deliverability rate remained the lowest of the 8 countries highlighted in the report.

Senders from the highlighted countries achieved the following inbox placement rates, sorted in descending order of success:

  • Australia: 90%;
  • Canada: 90%;
  • UK: 84%
  • France: 82%;
  • Spain: 82%;
  • Germany: 79%;
  • Brazil: 79%; and
  • US: 77%

Canada had the lowest rate of “missing” emails, at 7%, while Australia had the lowest spam placement rate, of 1%.

Which Industries Fare Best?

Using a different method to estimate inbox deliverability, the report reveals that marketers in the Banking & Finance (94%), Distribution & Manufacturing (92%) and Travel (90%) industries had the highest inbox placement rates, well above the 85% average.

By contrast, the Education/Non-Profit/Government (76%), Social & Dating (77%), and Automotive (77%) sectors had more trouble in reaching subscribers.

In terms of year-over-year trends, the Insurance (+13 points to 89%), Automotive (+11 points to 77%) and Technology/Software/Internet (+10 points to 85%) industries showed the most improvement.

Conversely, the Apparel (-8 points to 85%) and Household & Home Improvement (-7 points to 87%) sectors saw the biggest declines in inbox placement rates.

About the Data: The inbox placement rates per country were determined using seed data from more than 140 global and regional mailbox providers. The per-industry rates were determined using Consumer Network data for more than 17,000 commercial senders, 2 million consumer panelists, and more than 2 billion commercial email messages sent to Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and AOL users between April 2016 and June 2017.

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