Study identifies major shifts in email user behaviour post-Covid

By our News Team | 2023

Analysis of more than 10-billion bulk emails sent over three years finds a ‘landscape fundamentally reshaped’ by events.

There have been “seismic shifts” in email user behaviour and engagement as the world returned to a post-Covid normal, according to a study published by South African-based email specialist Everlytic.

The Email Marketing Benchmark Report 2022 analysed data from more than 10-billion bulk emails from 2020 to 2022, with the research “discovering a landscape fundamentally reshaped by the events of the past three years”, the company said.

Email marketing

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff from Pexels

For example the hospitality, tourism and travel sectors were hard hit by the pandemic, with below-average email open rates in 2020. Now, thanks to trends like revenge travel (travelling as a way of making up for time lost during the pandemic) and digital-nomad working, the sector has since seen a 49% increase in open rates in 2022. 

Indeed, email open rates across all sectors surveyed by Everlytic have increased to an all-time high of 29.28%, which is a 17% increase on 2020.

After the travel and hospitality sector, technology had the most significant increase of 43%, followed by property and real estate (26%), and business and consulting services (25%). 

“These upticks in user open rates are aligned with the trends of online shopping, entrepreneurialism, home delivery optimisation and hybrid working,” Everlytic says.

Business consulting had a 128% increase in click-to-open rates in 2022. This reflects a growing trend towards outsourcing admin and services to streamline costs and improve time management, and is very much in line with the hybrid working trend and the need to outsource expertise, rather than keep everyone in-house and in the office.

Parallels between engagement and industry trends

“The data found some interesting parallels between how users engaged with email marketing and specific trends in the industry,” says Louise Krog, Executive Head of Sales and Marketing at Everlytic. 

“There are distinct correlations between what was going on with the economy, consumer trends and other determinative events, and how people connected with companies and their email content.”

The report also unpacked the trends around unsubscribes and complaints, and found that the automotive industry experienced the biggest shift in terms of both. This suggests that recipients may not be receiving messaging that speaks to their needs – or they’re perceiving it as spam.

According to a separate blog post published on the Everlytic website, which provides additional analysis of the benchmark report, one of the striking changes revealed is that email privacy adjustments made by email providers like have had a substantial impact on platform rates. 

“This is because platform rates are measured using the same tracking technology used to measure email open rates; a metric that, due to the email privacy changes mentioned above, is becoming increasingly difficult for email marketing platforms to measure accurately,” the post says.

“So, while email opens on mobile and desktop appear to be plummeting and web app opens increasing, the report reveals that email marketers are moving into territory where they simply won’t know which platforms their recipients are using to open their emails anymore.”

You can download the full Everlytic Email Marketing Benchmark Report 2022 report (registration required) here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.