Why Is the Click-To-Open Rate Falling? People Are More Discerning

Open and click-through rates continue to rise. But they are resulting in a lower click-to-open rate, according to SendGrid’s Global Email Benchmark Report. 

Why this disparity? Because the click rate hasn’t risen as much as the open rate, and “recipients are becoming more discerning on what they click on,” SendGrid writes.

SendGrid studied over 50 billion emails from 100,000 senders to more than 2 billion addresses. It found that the aggregate open rate is up to 18%, compared with 14.6% last year and 14.2% in 2016.

In contrast, the aggregate click rate rose to 2.0% from 1.7%, after falling from 1.9% in 2016. But the click-top-open rate dropped rom 13.6% in 2016 to 11.6% in 2017. And now it stands at 11.1%. Meanwhile, that other critical metric — the send rate — has slid from 9.8% two years ago to 8.1% last year to 7.0% currently.

However, SendGrid has noticed an increase in transactional email, meaning that “there are more messages being sent overall.”



Email is becoming “the communication tool for keeping a record of things,” it adds. “Whether it’s an Uber receipt, or a shipping notification, or even a receipt from your purchase in a retail store where they ask if you’d prefer your receipt emailed, email is where people want those transaction records.

SendGrid also reports that 55.6% of marketing emails are now going to mobile devices, with women more likely to receive them than men. The most commonly used devices are iPhone and Samsung — but they are not the only ones. 

Gmail is the carrier of choice throughout the world, with rates ranging from 21.% in Germany to 82% in India. The Gmail adoption rate in the U.S. is 42.1%. Yahoo Mail is second, with 15.8% and Hotmail third with 6.1%.

Although not widely used in the U.S.,, Live, and GMX are more common in Russia, Germany, and Canada.

SendGrid also delved down into verticals and found that:

  • The computers and electronics industry has the highest click-to-open rate, and the nonprofit field has the lowest
  • The software and internet industry has the open median open rate and second highest click rate, along with the lowest monthly send rate
  • The lowest median open rate is that of the wholesale and distribution sector. This coincides with the lowest send rate. Recipients in this sector are unique in that they are more likely to open on desktop than on mobile 
  • Government has the highest aggregate monthly send rate — 18.1 messages
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