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Introduction

Each year, Campaign Monitor pulls data from billions of emails sent from the United Kingdom. We compile these findings into benchmark reports, showing you how UK industries have performed over the year.

In this guide, we compile all the historic benchmarks data so you can identify trends and changes in the email marketing world.

View the 2021 benchmarks report.

Looking for the latest data? Head to the 2021 report here.

Chapter 1

2020 UK email marketing benchmarks by industry and day

Here are the 2020 UK benchmarks. These metrics are based on campaigns sent in 2019, using billions of emails sent from organisations based in the United Kingdom.

Key takeaways

01 | In a post-GDPR world, the UK’s email marketing engagement is through the roof.

Email is more powerful than ever. Email performed drastically better in 2019 than it did in 2018. Last year’s numbers trended below the global averages. This year, however, the benchmarks for the UK fall much more closely in line with global numbers—and in some cases, even higher.

Compared to last year, the UK saw an improvement in almost all areas. In fact, the only metric that didn’t improve—open rates—only dropped half a percentage point (from 18% in 2018 to 17.5% in 2019).

Furthermore, while some of these benchmarks seem to have only experienced a minor jump from last year, you’ll see a big difference if you look closely: Last year, most industries experienced lower numbers, while a few highly engaged industries boosted the average. This year, most industries experienced better numbers, while a few industries bring the average down.

This means that while the benchmarks seem to have experienced a small change from last year, individual industries improved far more than the average would lead you to believe.

02 | Email drove more people to take action and visit websites in 2019. A lot more.

Click-through rates skyrocketed in 2019. The click-through rates for emails sent in the UK jumped from 0.9% to 2.4%, meaning consumers saw content they wanted to engage with on a deeper level—and a lot of it.

This jump tells us that marketers in the UK tapped into their audience base to discover the type of content their specific readers are looking for when they skim their inboxes. It also reveals that marketers found ways to capture their subscribers’ attention and drive them to action by taking advantage of FOMO, creating urgency in their emails, and even including teasers that require readers to learn more by visiting the site.

Whichever of these best practices email marketers utilized, it worked. And we predict this trend will continue upward over the course of 2020.

03 | Increase in engagement caused a corresponding drop in unsubscribes.

Unsubscribe rates plummeted in 2019, dropping from 2.4% to a stellar 0.2%. That’s a lot of dead weight that marketers no longer have to worry about—or pay for. In fact, it’s the largest shift we saw over the past year for any average in any region.

High unsubscribe rates can indicate that marketers aren’t sending content their subscribers want to receive or that marketers aren’t meeting their subscribers’ expectations.

An improvement in unsubscribes is an improvement in transparency as well as an improvement in understanding your audience. Marketers are tapping into their data to personalize content and recommendations in their emails and following through with every claim and incentive to grow their list.

As a result, unsubscribes have gone way, way down.

04 | Agriculture and Government held onto the top spots by seeing big improvements in their open rates.

Even if your email program performs well beyond these averages, there’s still room for improvement. There’s no cap to just how well your email marketing can perform.

Take the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting industry and the Government industry for example: Last year they saw the top open rates of 33.6% and 26.5% respectively. But this year those open rates increased to 35.9% and 34.2%.

Those numbers wildly outperform the average 17.5% open rate.

If you follow best practices and curate your email marketing strategy for your specific audience, there’s no reason you can’t continuously improve. One of the most powerful aspects of email as a marketing tool is the ability to constantly refine your strategy—always finding more efficient ways to drive opens, clicks, and ultimately conversions.

05 | Sunday reigns supreme as the worst day for email marketing in the UK.

Sundays saw the worst numbers for open rates, click-through rates, and click-to-open rates while Saturdays saw the highest bounce rates.

But if you’re looking for a quick fix for below average numbers, don’t blame the day of the week. Even as Sunday sees poor performance, the numbers are only slightly below average.

Instead of aiming for a band-aid fix to your email marketing struggles, you’ll need to take a holistic view to find a culprit for low open rates, high unsubscribes, and everything in between.

Average email benchmarks for all industries in the UK

  • Average open rate: 17.5%
  • Average click-through rate: 2.4%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 13.4%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.2%
  • Average bounce rate: 0.8%

Email benchmarks for all industries in the UK

Here’s the breakdown for average metrics across all industries in the UK.

chart showing metric averages for all industries in the UK by open, click-through, click-to-open, unsubscribe, and bounce rates

Open rates for all industries by day in the UK

This chart examines open rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and industries in the UK.

chart showing open rate averages for each industry in UK by day of the week

Click-through rates for all industries by day in the UK

This chart examines click-through rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and industries in the UK.

chart showing click-through rate averages for each industry in UK by day of the week

Click-to-open rates for all industries by day in the UK

This chart examines click-to-open rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and industries in the UK.

chart showing click-to-open rate averages for each industry in UK by day of the week

Unsubscribe rates for all industries by day in the UK

This chart examines unsubscribe rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and industries in the UK.

chart showing unsubscribe rate averages for each industry in UK by day of the week

Average email benchmarks by day in the UK

Taking averages across all campaigns—regardless of industry—you can see how these campaigns perform by day of the week.

Best days for email marketing in the UK

Based on the averages by day shown above, these are the best days for sending based on specific metrics.

  • Best day for highest email open rates: Wednesday (17.9%)
  • Best days for highest click-through rates: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (2.4%)
  • Best day for highest click-to-open rates: Saturday (13.6%)
  • Best days for lowest bounce rates: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (0.7%)
  • Best day for lowest unsubscribe rates: all days were (0.2%)

Worst days for email marketing in the UK

Based on the averages by day shown above, these are the worst days for sending based on specific metrics.

  • Worst day for highest email open rates: Sunday (16.9%)
  • Worst day for highest click-through rates: Sunday (2.2%)
  • Worst day for highest click-to-open rates: Sunday (12.8%)
  • Worst day for lowest bounce rates: Saturday (0.9%)
  • Worst day for lowest unsubscribe rates: all days were (0.2%)

 

Top industries by open rates

  1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (35.9%)
  2. Government (34.2%)
  3. Real Estate, Design and Construction Activities (27.4%)

Explore more resources on open rates here.

UK benchmarks 2020 top industries by open rate

Top industries by click-through rates

  1. Government (6.0%)
  2. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (4.8%)
  3. Real Estate, Design and Construction Activities (4.3%)

Explore more resources on click-through rates here.

UK benchmarks 2020 top industries by click-through rate

Top industries by click-to-open rates

  1. Government (17.4%)
  2. Retail (16.8%)
  3. Media, Entertainment, and Publishing (16.6%)

Explore more resources on click-to-open rates here.

UK benchmarks 2020 top industries by click-to-open rates

How the UK stacks up against the world

These are the average benchmarks broken down by metric so you can see how the UK compares to other regions.

chart comparing open rates, click rates, click to open rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates between global results, united kingdom, australia, and united states

It turns out the UK sees similar performance to averages in the US. However, the UK performs slightly worse than Australia’s benchmarks.

And when compared to global performance, we see the UK’s benchmarks lagging slightly behind—but only slightly.

We expect to see next year’s numbers continue this upward trajectory, as email marketing is well-poised to meet consumer’s needs among increasing privacy concerns and the desire for more personalized experiences.

Chapter 2

2019 UK email marketing benchmarks by industry and day

Here are the 2019 UK benchmarks. These metrics are based on campaigns sent in 2018, using billions of emails sent from organisations based in the United Kingdom.

Average email benchmarks for all UK industries

  • Average open rate: 18.0%
  • Average click-through rate: 0.9%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 13.2%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 2.4%
  • Average bounce rate: 0.2%

UK industry averages for open, click-through, click-to-open, unsubscribe, and bounce rates

UK email open rates by industry and by day of the week

UK email click-through rates by industry and by day of the week

UK email click-to-open rates by industry and by day of the week

UK email unsubscribe rates by industry and by day of the week

Best days for email marketing

Here’s a list of the best days to send in 2019, organised by metric.

  • Best day for highest email open rates: Monday (18.5%)
  • Best days for highest click-through rates: Wednesday (2.6%)
  • Best days for highest click-to-open rates: Wednesday (14.1%)
  • Best day for lowest bounce rates: Wednesday (0.6%)
  • Best days for lowest unsubscribe rates: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (0.2%)

 

Worst days for email marketing

Here’s a list of the worst days to send in 2019, organized by metric.

  • Worst day for lowest email open rates: Saturday (17.5%)
  • Worst days for lowest click-through rates: Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday (2.3%)
  • Worst day for lowest click-to-open rates: Thursday (12.7%)
  • Worst day for highest bounce rates: Tuesday (1.5%)
  • Worst day for highest unsubscribe rates: Tuesday (0.4%)

 

Top industries by open rate

These top industries are based on the data provided above.

  1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (33.6%)
  2. Government (26.5%)
  3. Nonprofit (25.6%)
  4. Engineering, Architecture, and Design (22.2%)
  5. A tie between Logistics and Wholesale & Real Estate, Design, and Construction Activities (21.3%)

top 3 industries ranked in terms of average open rates in UK

Top industries by click-through rate

These top industries are based on the data provided above.

  1. Logistics and Wholesale (3.5%)
  2. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (2.2%)
  3. Construction, Contracting, and Manufacturing (2.1%)
  4. Other (1.7%)
  5. Engineering, Architecture, and Design (1.6%)

top 3 industries in the UK ranked in terms of best click-through rates

Top industries by click-to-open rate

These top industries are based on the data provided above.

  1. Real Estate, Design, and Construction Activities (19.3%)
  2. Media, Entertainment, and Publishing (16.9%)
  3. Government (16.7%)
  4. Retail (16.6%)
  5. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (14.4%)

top 3 industries in the UK ranked in terms of best click-to-open rates

View the latest benchmarks report. Get the latest metrics and stay up-to-date on UK industry benchmarks. View the latest
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