September 26, 2011, 2:06 PM

One in five e-mail messages never reaches the inbox, report says

Messages sent to U.S. and Canadian inboxes, however, are most likely to be delivered.

Allison Enright


Lead Photo

About one in five, or 19%, of e-mails sent to consumers around the world during the first half of 2011 never reached the inboxes of intended recipients, according to a report from Return Path Inc.

The e-mail service provider looked at deliverability statistics from the first six months of the year provided by 149 Internet service providers. Globally, 81% of messages sent during the time period arrived in consumers’ inboxes, as intended. 7% landed in junk or spam folders and 12% never arrived.

Messages sent to North American e-mail addresses had the highest overall inbox deliverability rate among the regions studied, 86.0%, up from 80.1% from the second half of 2009, the last time Return Path issued a similar study. Within North America, U.S. consumers in the first half of 2011 received their e-mail at a slightly higher rate (86.5%) than Canadian consumers (85.2%). The inbox deliverability rate improved for both nations since the second half of 2009, when the U.S. had an 82.4% inbox deliverability rate and Canada a 76.3% rate.   

Following North America in descending order, average inbox delivery rates by region in the first half of 2011 were Europe (83.5%), Asia-Pacific (78%) and Central and Latin America (62%). Within Central and Latin America, the nation with the worst deliverability rate average was Brazil, where 25% of permission-based e-mails land in junk or spam folders and 11% of messages go missing.

The Return Path report says e-mail marketers should pay attention to the inbox placement rate rather than total delivery rate metrics because the total delivery rate doesn’t make a distinction between messages that arrive in the inbox and spam folders.


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