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We’re bringing our email benchmark analysis to the EU for the first time this year.

From January to December 2020, we analyzed open rates, click-through rates, click-to-open rates, and unsubscribe rates across all industries to better understand the email marketing trends over the past year.

This year, email marketers in the EU have region-specific insights to base their marketing decisions on. It may be especially beneficial to compare EU benchmarks to global and UK trends to understand the nuances of the region.

Following the data from the past year is the surest way to put your best foot forward in your email marketing in 2021.

Key takeaways

EU email benchmarks mostly align with trends we’ve seen globally across all industries. However, there are some interesting anomalies occurring within certain industries.

It’s also notable that the EU market seems to align more closely with global trends than to UK-specific trends, suggesting that despite the proximity of the markets, the EU and UK may expect different consumer behavior and outcomes.

1. The average open rate in the EU is higher than global averages and much higher than UK averages.

The average email open rate in the EU in 2021 was 19%, a 1% increase over the global average of 18%. Though 1% might not seem significant, in terms of actual emails opened, this means a difference of about 2.7 billion more emails opened per day in the EU than elsewhere in 2020 (based on a global average of 269 billion emails sent per day).

Compared to the UK in 2020, the EU saw an even greater increase in average open rates: 2.6% more.

Other email marketing benchmarks, however, remain more in line with both global and UK averages, suggesting that more opens aren’t necessarily converting into more clicks or customers for the EU.

2. The Wellness and Fitness industry was the top-performing industry in the EU.

Emails from Wellness and Fitness companies had a 10% higher average open rate than the average across all industries, at nearly 39%. Additionally, the clickthrough rate was almost double the all-industry average.

This suggests there’s an opportunity for Wellness and Fitness companies that want to connect with their customers via email marketing. Customer behavior indicates a receptive and eager audience that is likely to convert into clicks and revenue.

3. Government and politics emails saw the lowest open rates, click-through rates, and click-to-open rates of all EU industries.

Government and political emails did not perform well in 2020 in the EU market, with an open rate of just 14.5% and a click-through rate of just 0.6%.  Compared to the average across all industries, the click-through rate in particular is dismal: Less than one-fourth the average across all industries.

This data is surprising when we compare it to the performance of Government and Political emails globally, where it is the top performing industry. It suggests that the EU market is not engaged with Government and Political emails. Organizations in this industry should focus on increasing their open rates and click-through rates through more enticing subject lines and engaging email content.

4. The Food and Beverage industry saw a lower-than-average click-to-open rate, despite higher-than-average open rates.

The Food and Beverage industry was one of the lowest performers in the EU email market in 2020. Though the industry’s open rates were on par with EU averages across all industries, we see the real story in the click-through and click-to-open rates.

The 9.8% click-to-open rate is the second-lowest of all industries in the EU (second to Government and Political emails). This indicates that companies in the Food and Beverage industry should review the content of their emails to drive more clicks and engagement from readers who open their emails.

5. The EU and UK differ significantly for some industries, but are in line for others.

Despite the proximity to the UK market, some email benchmarks for specific industries in the EU vary a great deal from benchmarks for those industries in the UK.

For example, Government and Politics was one of the UK’s highest performing industries across all benchmarks, but was the lowest-performing industry in the EU. Similarly, Healthcare emails performed well compared to other industries in the EU, but performed poorly compared to other industries in the UK.

However, benchmarks for other industries are similar in the UK and the EU. For example, the Wellness and Fitness industry was a top-performer in both regions, and Retail was among the lowest performers in both regions.

Chapter 1

Average email benchmarks for all industries in the EU

Here are the average benchmarks for EU senders at a high level. Note that we have excluded UK senders from this list. If you’d like to check out our UK email statistics for 2021, find that report here. 

  • Average open rate: 19.0%
  • Average click-through rate: 2.7%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.6%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.1%

Email marketing benchmarks for Europe

Email benchmarks for all industries in the EU

Check out the data below to discover how your key metrics perform relative to other European companies in your industry.

Emaili marketing benchmarks for Europe


Chapter 2

Top industries by specific metrics in the EU

Top industries by open rate in the EU

  1. Wellness & Fitness (38.9%)
  2. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting (32.0%)
  3. Healthcare Services (30.1%)

Email marketing benchmarks for European businesses

Explore more resources on open rates.

Top industries by click-through rate in the EU

  1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting (5.9%)
  2. Logistics & Wholesale (5.8%)
  3. Wellness & Fitness (5.7%)

Click-through rates: Email marketing benchmarks for European businesses

Explore more resources on click-through rates.

Top industries by click-to-open rate in the EU

  1. Logistics & Wholesale (21.4%)
  2. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting (18.3%)
  3. Media, Entertainment, & Publishing (17.1%)

Click-to-open rates: Email marketing benchmarks for European businesses

Explore more resources on click-to-open rates.

Chapter 3

Country comparison

These are the average benchmarks for each region broken down by metric so you can see how the EU compares to other regions.

Chapter 4

Understand and improve your metrics

Not sure where to start? Check out some of our resources to improve your metrics:

Chapter 5

Takeaways to improve your email metrics

While these benchmarks can show you where and how your email marketing can be improved, you can also learn a lot by comparing your email marketing metrics over time.

Are your open rates staying consistent and even improving while you grow your list? Or is an old and stagnant list resulting in low open rates? It’s also important to keep your eye on open rates, spam rates, and your deliverability to ensure you grow your list wisely, rather than just quickly.

These benchmarks can show you the overall health of your email marketing strategy by letting you compare your metrics to your competitors. But you also need to compare your metrics today to your metrics over time to see the overall trends in your program.

Only you know your audience. If you compare your results to these benchmarks, remember that your industry and specific niche means you have a unique audience. Testing your content, offers, and strategy will refine your emails so that every send gets you one step closer to your best results possible.

Test out our email builder to see how billions of emails were sent quickly and easily with Campaign Monitor.

Notes about terminology

These numbers exclude email sends from the UK. That data is in a separate report. You’ll notice we discuss “averages.” These averages are created using all campaigns. Some industries send more emails than others, so we calculate averages by all campaigns sent, regardless of industry.

We also discuss email metrics at length in this guide. To read up on what each metric means and how it’s calculated, visit this post.

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