Global Inbox Placement is Rising, but 15% of Worldwide Commercial Email Still Falls Short

Aug 16, 2018


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According to new research from data solutions provider Return Path, nearly one in six commercial emails worldwide fails to reach its intended target. The 2018 Deliverability Benchmark report reveals that 85% of email was delivered to the inbox over the past 12 months. While this represents an increase of five percentage points over the 2017 global inbox placement average, a full 15% of email is still being diverted to spam folders or blocked altogether.

After three years of relatively static inbox placement worldwide (80% in 2017; 79% in 2016 and 2015), the report’s findings show this year’s improvement was largely driven by inbox placement gains in North America and Europe. However, the significant percentage of filtered messages means that marketers are still missing out on a valuable opportunity to drive meaningful revenue from the email channel.

Email marketers in the US saw strong gains in inbox placement over the last 12 months, with 83% of messages reaching subscribers. While this result falls short of the global average, it represents an increase of six percentage points over the previous period (77% in 2017). Meanwhile, inbox placement in Canada remained relatively steady and ranked among the highest in this study at 89%, compared to 90% in 2017.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • While marketers in Mexico exceeded the worldwide inbox placement average at 88%, poor performance elsewhere in the region brought average inbox placement in Latin America down to 78%. Inbox placement in Europe increased three percentage points year over year, from 83% in 2017 to 86% in 2018. Contributing to these results were several countries with inbox placement above 90%, including Belgium (91%), Greece (93%), Ireland (92%), Norway (93%), and Portugal (93%).
  • Most countries in the Asia-Pacific region outperformed the global inbox placement average, including Australia (89%), Hong Kong (88%), Japan (89%), New Zealand (90%), and Singapore (90%). However, inbox placement of just 57% in China lowered the region’s average to 78%.
  • Looking at inbox placement by industry, the best results were found in sectors with strong account-based consumer relationships such as banking & finance (96%), distribution & manufacturing (96%), and travel (94%). Across the board, every industry saw an increase in inbox placement compared to the previous period.

This annual benchmark report from Return Path examines how email is delivered and how inbox placement is measured, along with global, regional, and industry benchmark results by quarter.


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