Average email read rates around the world were less than 17% in Q4 2012, slightly down from a year earlier, finds Return Path [download page] in its latest Email Intelligence Report. Some sectors performed better than others, though, with finance easily beating out all others, with a 27.5% read rate. Business (24.3%) and real estate (20.1%) also performed well, but only 15.2% of shopping emails were read. That was down from 17% the previous year, and may be attributable to “consumer fatigue brought on by… holiday mailing volumes,” according to the report.
While sector leaders finance and business saw significant year-over-year gains in read rate, most others did not fare so well. Among them, news (7.9%, down from 13%) and social networking (6.3%, down from 12%) emails, which continued to struggle to interest readers.
Returning to the retail sector, the report notes some disparity in read rates of subject lines containing offers. For example, while subscribers read 14% of messages with a subject line pertaining to percentage-based offers, they read 12% of messages which promoted dollar-based savings.
While that’s not a big gap, what seems clear is that subscribers were not too welcoming of marketing messages overall. That’s because the retailers tracked had a 27% read rate overall, but subscribers read only 15% of emails that were easily identifiable as marketing or promotions. What’s more, they read just 10% of marketing messages from senders not among the top 100 internet retailers.
About the Data: Return Path conducted its study by monitoring data from its Email Intelligence Suite for campaigns sent between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. The study tracks the inbox, blocking and filtering rates for over 400,000 campaigns that used its Inbox Monitor and Email Client Monitor, as well as susbcriber panel data from its Inbox Insight product. Return Path reviewed over 241 ISPs in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Asia Pacific territories.