Email Engagement Rates Stabilize After COVID Spike

August 19, 2020

GetResponse Email Response Rates During COVID 19 Aug2020COVID-19 has had an effect on email marketing, and new data [registration required] from GetResponse indicates that response rates increased quite significantly during the first weeks of the pandemic.

The analysis of active GetResponse customers (largely SMBs) with at least 1,000 contacts found that the average number of emails sent was high at the beginning of the period between February 24 and May (weeks 9-19 of the year), hitting a peak sent out in week 11. After this, high email volume tapered off somewhat and then leveled off for the rest of the timeframe.

Volume and engagement rates showed an inverse relationship at the start: at about the same time that email volume was at its highest, engagement rates were at their lowest, with the highest average open rate not occurring until week 16 (25.14%) and the highest average click-through rate being in week 14 (3.30%). Although both engagement metrics did drop off a bit after those highs, GetResponse notes that neither returned to lower, pre-pandemic levels, and remained roughly 20% higher at the end of the analysis period than at its start.

Industry Highlights

Here’s how individual industries fared during the weeks analyzed.

Health Care

  • With COVID-19 causing healthcare companies to prioritize crisis communications, it’s not surprising that the number of emails sent by GetResponse’s healthcare industry clients almost tripled between weeks 9 and 16.
  • Unlike the general relationship seen between volume and engagement, health care companies not only increased the volume of emails sent but also saw click-through and open rates increase as well.

Health and Beauty

  • Health and Beauty email volume increased by some 40% in week 12 before experiencing a 2-week decline, only to increase and stabilize in the following weeks. During that spike in week 12, open rates and click-through rates dropped, only to increase once email volume went down.
  • However, even with the influx of emails sent during week 12, unsubscribe and spam complaint rates were the lowest for the time period examined.


  • Email volume was at its highest during the first weeks of the timeframe analyzed, but then declined by about 14% until the end of the period of analysis.
  • Engagement was relatively low initially, but then grew until both open rates and click-through rates hit a high during week 16.

Financial Services

  • Financial Services brands increased their volume of emails during the period with the biggest increase coming in week 18.
  • Engagement dipped during that same week and did not rebound until the volume of emails sent settled to what it was at the beginning of the timeframe.


  • Per the report, Retail was one of several industries that saw engagement metrics decrease in week 12. The average volume of sent emails fell by 4%, while open rates were at a low for this industry (18.36%), as were click-through rates (1.7%).
  • That said, by week 16 open rates had surged back to 34.04% and click-through rates nearly doubled to 3%.


  • As an industry that has been hit hard by COVID-19 the number of emails sent by Travel organizations plummeted, going from an average of 6,276 emails in week 9 to 940 by week 17.
  • Possibly as a result of many of the emails being transactional in nature, engagement rates were impressively high at points, with open rates hitting 95.56% and click-through rates reaching 12.21% in week 16.

More information can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an analysis of emails sent by GetResponse customers (largely SMBs) from February 24th to May 10th 2020 (weeks 9-19). The data was indexed to Week 9 (100). Only active senders with at least 1,000 contacts were analyzed.


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