Email emerged as the leading promotional channel during the COVID-19 pandemic, up from third place in 2018.
The email redemption rate averaged 37% in 2020, versus 21% two years earlier, according to Promotions Benchmark Report, a study by RevTrax.
Search, which fell from first this time, still rose to 34% from 28%. Social, which beat email in 2018, had a modest increase from 22% to 25%.
Email also shone when it came to overall activations:
It's not yet clear whether these rates have changed in 2021, but email certainly dominated in 2020. Email’s performance in the Food & Beverage area was tied with the web at 34%. But email grew at a higher rate, from 22% in 2018 to 25% for the web.
In addition, email was third in the personal care area, with a redemption rate or 20%, compared to 32% apiece for the web and “other.” Email dominated the Animals & Pets category, drawing a redemption rate of 44%, up from 23% in 2018.
In contrast, the web went to 29%, compared with 24% in 2018, and “other” channels from 31% to 40%.
Websites also had higher redemption rates in most categories, but declined from 28% to 25% in the House & Home area and from 24% to 21% in Baby & Toddler.
In general, redemption rates soared, regardless of channel. The Food & Beverage category went from 19% to 37%, Personal Care from 23% to 32% and Animals & Pets from 25% to 31%/
There’s no big surprise that these verticals did best — people ate more at home, treated themselves to personal care items and adopted animals to copy with personal loneliness during the lockdown, judging by anecdotal reports.
Strangely, health care was flat at 27% from 2018 to 2020. And Baby & Toddler rose from 24% to 26% and House & Home from 24% to 25%.
RevTrax analyzed engagement rates across channels based on hundreds of millions of data points.