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Business Email Read Rates and Unread Delete Rates, by Industry, Q1-Q4 2016

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Some 13% of emails sent by businesses in 2016 were deleted by their recipients without being read, according to recent research from Return Path.

The report was based on Return Path data from 17,000 commercial senders, 2.5 million consumer panelists, and over 5 billion commercial email messages received between January 1 and December 31, 2016.

The share of emails deleted without being read in 2016 varied widely by industry, the analysis found.

For example, 14% of emails sent by office supply companies were deleted without being read last year, whereas only 6% of emails sent by utility and insurance companies were deleted without being read.


Overall, 22% of the emails analyzed by Return Path were read (opened, even if all images didn't load) in 2016. The remainder were deleted immediately, filtered into spam folders, ignored, or never reached their intended recipients.

The utilities industry had the highest average read rate (57%) last year, and the business/marketing industry had the lowest average read rate (15%).

About the research: The report was based on Return Path data from 17,000 commercial senders, 2.5 million consumer panelists, and over 5 billion commercial email messages received between January 1 and December 31, 2016.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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