Email Opens Were Up, Clicks Down In COVID-19 Period, Study Finds

Email open and conversion rates have boomed YoY during the COVID-19 period. But there has not been a corresponding increase in click rates, according to a new study by Omnisend.

From January 1 to April 26, open rates grew by 13.64% YoY, with most of the lift coming in what Omnisend calls the post-COVID-19. 

There was a 2.44% increase in the pre-COVID-19 period through March and 31.54% after that.

Last year, open rates fell by 5.38% from the comparable January-March period and the “post-COVID” time frame in April.

Omnisend observes that consumers have become “increasingly relegated to their homes, and in-store shopping mostly unavailable.”  

Conversion rates rose by 17% YoY, peaking in March. There was an increase of 11.81% pre-COVID this year, and 22.66 post-COVID. In contrast, 2019 was flat.

However, click rates declined by 17.01% YoY, continuing a falloff seen in 2019. And there was a dramatic decrease in mid-March.

That was followed by a slight easing in the post-COVID-19 period, when the rate fell by 16.89%. And click rates at least rebounded to the level at which they started the year, which did not occur in 2019.

Omnisend blames the decrease on “economic and need-based shopping” and poor CTAs or marketing copy in some cases.

Consumers had “an interest in shopping and were receptive to receiving trusted brand communications, but there was more browsing of emails than action within them,” the study says.

Yet conversions went up by almost 31% during that time, indicating a shift to COVID-19-related, intent-based shopping.

Omnisend advises brands to: 

  • Ensure your automated messages are up to date. 
  • Focus on customer retention strategies.
  • Build trust by automating other lifecycle email messages.
  • Expand opt-in channels such as SMS.
  • Test Facebook Messenger and other marketing channels.

For this study, Omnisend analyzed data from over 2.5 billion promotional emails sent via its platform from January 1 to April 26 in 2019 and 2020.


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