Email marketing is growing more popular every day. To help track its progress, the GetResponse Team has performed a study to determine which industries are using it and what kind of results they are getting from their newsletters and campaigns.

Some of the results may surprise you. For example, e-commerce companies don't always have the highest email marketing scores. So take a look at the stats to see how your industry performed!

Study Findings

Open Rates

Initially, we calculated the Total Open Rate as the number of email "opens", divided by the total number of emails sent. This time, we calculated only the Average Open Rate of HTML messages as the number of email "opens", divided by the total number of HTML emails sent.

Associations again came in first among all analyzed industries with a 72%-plus open rate! Travel came in a close second with 70.7%; and Spa/Health took third place with an open rate of a little over 52%.

All open rate rankings are shown below:

Open Rates

Click-Through Rates

The Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the number of clicks on links in an email message, divided by the number of messages sent in any campaign.

This time around, the Art sector came in first with an 8%-plus CTR, a tremendous result when compared to the lowest group, Technology, at 0.77%. In second place was Education with 6.66%; and Travel remained on the stage with a respectable 6.43%.

Check the chart to see how your industry scored:

Click-Through Rates

List Churn Metrics

Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate measures how many emails were returned to the sender because they were undeliverable for some reason, e.g. the address was invalid, mailbox was full, mail server temporarily unavailable, etc.

This is the metric we all want to be as low as possible. However, the Real Estate industry returned a 1.63% bounce rate - the highest score among all industries by more than 50%! In second place was Financial Services at only 0.70%; and just after that, Network Marketing, with a 0.68% bounce rate.

Bounce Rate

Complaint Rate

The Complaint Rate is the percentage of delivered email messages that generate spam complaints. It means that when a recipient reports your email as spam, his/her email address will be immediately removed and blacklisted from your account.

In this category, low is definitely better, but Technology scored the highest complaint rate at 0.74%. At half the Technology score, Network Marketing returned a 0.44% complaint rate for second position. All industries together averaged 0.31%

Unsubscribe Rate

Unsubscribe Rates measure reader disengagement. They show how many subscribers opted out of receiving further messages by clicking the unsubscribe links automatically added to every email sent out from GetResponse.

Once again, Associations scored well with an unsubscribe rate of only 0.11% - almost 83% lower than Network Marketing, with the highest average unsubscribe rate - 0.64%. In a strong second position was Art with 0.14%; and following closely behind, Sports at 0.19%.


To summarize the results across all categories, each industry was ranked against the others in the study, with 100 points being the highest possible score. The industry with the highest score by far was Associations with 93 points! In second place at 77 points was Travel; and close behind was Art with a score of 72.

To provide some background to the strong showing made by Associations, it's a very broad industry, and includes industry groups, foundations, non-profit organizations, and a wide range of non-government charitable associations (NGAs). Associations typically have members who join for long-standing personal or professional reasons, and who appreciate receiving messages from them. Usually, the emails Associations send are not marketing (fund-raising) messages, but purely informative and relevant. Members know what to expect and open the updates willingly. This may help to explain why this industry has the highest Open Rate - 72.3%, and the lowest Unsubscribe Rate - 0.11%, Complaint Rate - 0.07%, and Bounce Rate - 0.23%, of all industries studied.

The Travel industry also did well with the second-highest Open Rate - 70.7%, third-highest Click Rate - 6.43%, and third-lowest Complaint Rate - 0.12%. Email marketing in this sector has long been a popular medium for communicating with clients. Travel professionals are quite proficient is designing and sending eye-catching, personalized email messages, with links to online reservation and destination sites. The Art industry also scored well, returning the highest Click-Through Rate of all analyzed industries at 8.75%, and the second-lowest Unsubscribe Rate at 0.14%. Similar to Associations.

Art customers and subscribers are usually extremely interested in the latest art news, reviews, shows, and profiles in support of their interest or hobby - not to mention the visual feast on every page.

Research Methodology

This international email marketing study examined 161, 667, 904 emails sent by GetResponse users from 10 industries between 2009-07-01 and 2009-12-31.

Industry-wide and individual results may differ slightly from those obtained in the report, due to the fact that the results were based solely on GetResponse clients.