Hlib Kliuiko

Technical Writer

Bottom Line: What Email Marketing Was Like in 2020

Bottom Line: What Email Marketing Was Like in 2020

It has become a tradition that at the end of the year, leading experts publish reports with the most important and interesting events in the industry. You'll find key facts and figures from Litmus' 2020 State of Email Engagement and other overviews in this article.

The report uses data on opens of nearly 10 billion emails from January 1 to September 30, 2020. The data will help you learn about current email marketing trends, and then you can comprehend them in the context of your own marketing strategy.

1. Mobile opens are sagging due to self-isolation

We are already used to the fact that mobile traffic is increasing every year. But in 2020, the pandemic has made its own adjustments. The share of mobile email reads fell from 42% in 2019 to 39% in 2020. Moreover, the fall to a record 33% occurred from April to June – during the toughest lockdown. Obviously, people in self-isolation have begun to spend more time on computers, and you should take this into account when designing your campaigns.Most popular reading environments by Litmus

2. Apple iPhone and Gmail are still on top

There are no surprises here: in 2020, Apple iPhone and Gmail share the first place almost equally, jointly occupying more than half of the market.

Email client market share by Litmus

About 84% of all mobile emails are opened on the iPhone. The second most popular mobile email client is iPad with 4.5%. Android's share of opens is only 3.03%.

Most popular mobile clients by Litmus

Among webmail clients, Gmail remains confidently ahead. About 76% of emails in browsers were opened using this service.

Most popular webmail clients by Litmus

Apple Mail remains the most popular desktop email client (about 56%), followed by Outlook (42%).

Most popular desktop clients by Litmus

Knowing which email providers your subscribers use will help you optimize your campaign design and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

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Want to know how similar your email metrics are to Litmus stats? It's easy with our service! In reports on bulk and trigger campaigns, you can see which platforms and operating systems your subscribers are using:

Our campaign report

3. Dark Mode in emails: first analytic results

With Litmus Analytics, we've got the first statistics on reading email in Dark Mode. But the time period during which Litmus was collecting the information is too short to see the full picture. The data was collected for only a month – from September 14 to October 15, 2020. So far, the analytic results are as follows: 7.5% of reads on Apple Mail and 36% of reads on Apple iPhone happened in Dark Mode.

4. Best time to send email

Analytics on email opens in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Spain, and the UK showed similar results: the highest percentage of opens occurs from 9:00 to 12:00 a.m.

Statistics on email opens in USA by Litmus

5. Several unconventional engagement metrics

Litmus analysts decided to take a step away from such familiar to all email performance metrics as opens, clicks, etc. Analyzing new indicators helps to look at the email marketing development from an unusual point of view.

Average time spent reading emails

The average reading time per email has dropped by nearly 12% compared to 2018.

Email engagement time by Litmus

The good news is that in the second half of 2020, reading time increased by a full second compared to the first half of the year, and by 1.33 seconds on mobile:

Average time spent reading emails on mobile by Litmus

Want to increase the time your subscribers spend in email? Gamify your campaigns!

Print rate

Litmus’ research found that in 2020, on average, there was 1 email print for every 568 opens. Thus, the average print rate is 0.18%. This result is 40% less than in 2019, which is most likely also the pandemic aftermath (there were fewer events to use printed promo codes).

Sharing rate

The average forward rate was 0.36% – 1 repost for 277 opened emails. Analyzing email shares will help you build an effective content plan for social media.

6. Statistics by regional and industry

Finally, here are the 2020 regional and industry email marketing metrics that SendinBlue collected in their report.

Regional figures

  • The Asia-Pacific region has the highest open rate but at the same time the lowest conversion rate. Recipients here are likely to have a wide range of interests, but they don't tend to dive too deeply into any particular subject.
  • EMEA has a low open rate but the highest click rate. Probably, users here open only emails in which they are deeply engaged.
  • America has average open and click rates, but the lowest unsubscribe rate. Thus, subscribers are not the most active here, but once they subscribe, they remain loyal to the brand for a long time.
  • Most emails are sent by companies from Asia-Pacific. These emails represent 47.1% of the total volume of email campaigns. Perhaps this explains the highest bounce rate (2.29%) in this region.

Regional indicators by SendinBlue

Industry figures

  • Marketing/Advertising has the highest open rate and ranks in the top five industries with the lowest unsubscribe rate.
  • Insurance has the highest click rate and ranks in the top five industries with the highest open rate.
  • Associations/Clubs are in second place in the top five industries with the best open and click rates.
  • Media/Publishing is in the top five industries with the highest click rate and lowest unsubscribe rate.
  • Online Gaming (not gambling) has the second-lowest unsubscribe rate, and it is one of the top five industries with the highest open rate.
  • Career/Job Search is the third most unsubscribed industry and is one of the five industries with the highest click rate.

Try data-driven marketing


One of the main trends in the reports we've analyzed is the close focus on user data. Any information you can collect about your customers is important: from their device type and activity time to preferred communication channels, geolocation and pages they viewed on your site (web tracking). It's no coincidence that 60% of marketers, according to a Litmus report, see deeper personalization as their top priority in 2021.

Our system provides professional tools for personalizing communication with your customers. You can segment contacts by their activity in campaigns and on the site, add product recommendations based on customer preferences to emails and even on the site and much more.

We hope this overview data will provide fresh ideas for your marketing strategy, and our features will help you successfully implement them!

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Hlib Kliuiko

Technical Writer

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