Welcome to the Email Productivity Benchmark Report! This data shows a range of email statistics and metrics across a random sample of EmailAnalytics customers.

You can use this data to benchmark your own team’s email performance and activity. Connect your Gmail or Google Workspace account to EmailAnalytics to see how your team’s stats measure up (it’s free).

This data has been updated to include all data for December 2020. We will update it for January 2021 when the month is complete.

We update this post monthly with new stats, so remember to bookmark this page!

Let’s get to it!

Executive Summary (Statistics Summary)

Email Productivity Report

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Including weekends & holidays

This set of statistics covers ALL of December 2020, including weekends and holidays.

  • The average person received 102.3 emails per day, including spam
  • The average person received 2.5 spam emails per day
  • The average person sent 34.4 emails per day
  • 4.9 (14.26%) of those sent emails were in response to a received email
  • 8.5 (8.55%) of all non-spam emails received were responses
  • Average response time (actual): 12h 08m 37s 
  • Average response time (work hours): 4h 36m 16s
  • Average time to receive a response (actual): 15h 53m 56s
  • EmailAnalytics users’ email response time was 23.62% faster than non-EmailAnalytics users’ response time.
  • EmailAnalytics users respond, on average, 3h 45m 20s faster than non-EmailAnalytics users.

Excluding weekends & holidays

If we exclude weekends and holidays, we get a clearer picture of what a true workday looks like. Here’s what the stats look like if we exclude all weekends, and the following holidays:

Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)
Friday, December 25 (Christmas Day)
Thursday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve)

  • The average person received 132.3 emails per day, including spam
  • The average person received 3.0 spam emails per day
  • The average person sent 45.7 emails per day
  • 4.6 (10.01%) of those sent emails were in response to a received email
  • 7.9 (6.11%) of all non-spam emails received were responses
  • Average response time (actual): 10h 19m 46s  
  • Average response time (work hours): 3h 16m 41s
  • Average time to receive a response (actual): 12h 04m 27s
  • EmailAnalytics users’ email response time was 14.45% faster than non-EmailAnalytics users’ response time.
  • EmailAnalytics users responded, on average, 1h 44m 41s faster than non-EmailAnalytics users.

Holiday observations

What if we look at holidays only? In this report, we only look at holidays celebrated widely in the United States, though some other countries celebrate these holidays as well. The observations here will likely be somewhat muted because our total audience is not 100% Americans, but they paint an interesting picture nonetheless:

Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve):

  • The average person received 61.6 emails, not including spam
  • The average person sent 24.0 emails
  • Average response time (actual): 17h 33m 29s  
  • Average response time (work hours): 4h 46m 11s
  • Average time to receive a response (actual): 27h 26m 16s

Friday, December 25 (Christmas Day):

  • The average person received 18.5 emails, not including spam
  • The average person sent 7.2 emails
  • Average response time (actual): 26h 14m 52s  
  • Average response time (work hours): 5h 20m 04s
  • Average time to receive a response (actual): 33h 45m 46s

Thursday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve):

  • The average person received 82.5 emails, not including spam
  • The average person sent 29.8 emails
  • Average response time (actual): 17h 53m 48s  
  • Average response time (work hours): 4h 21m 24s
  • Average time to receive a response (actual): 18h 50m 59s

Methodology

This data comes from a random sample of 615 EmailAnalytics customers — both paying and trial users. All data has been aggregated and anonymized.

All @gmail.com email addresses were removed from the data, so that we are only looking at Google Workspace users (ie, professionals).

All data is localized to each user’s timezone.

About 41% of the data is from US-based customers. Here’s the geographic breakdown:

geographic breakdown

Terms & Definitions

You need to be familiar with some terminology we use here at EmailAnalytics to fully understand the data.

Average response time (actual): The actual time it takes to reply to an email.

Average response time (work hours): The amount of elapsed time within work hours to respond to an email. Work hours are set individually by EmailAnalytics customers, and are, by default, set to 8am to 5pm.

Average response time (received, actual): The actual time it takes to receive replies to emails. We do not measure “work hours” response time for received responses, because work hours among participants often vary across time zones.

How do we calculate email response time?

We have a few rules for how we count email response time:

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  • Only emails that receive a response are counted in the average. We do not count emails that do not receive a response.
  • We do not count responses that occur after longer than 14 days.

For the full set of rules, see this page.

How we calculate response time for a single day:

Many emails are not responded to until the next day, or several days later. So, we calculate average response time for a single day as the average amount of time it takes to respond to an email received on that day.

Example:

You received exactly one email on April 1st at 10am, and later responded to it on April 3rd at 10am. Your email response time for April 1st is 48 hours, even though that is longer than a single day. Thus, your response time for a single day can be longer than a single day.

In other words, your average email response time for April 1st is the average of all your responses that you sent in response to emails you received on April 1st.

Part I: Emails sent & received

Most email activity occurs on Tuesdays, with a slow drop-off of activity throughout the week. As expected, Saturdays and Sundays have a significant drop-off of activity:

Avg. Sent Avg. Received Response time (wh) Response time (actual) Response time (received, actual)
Sunday 9.4 37.7 6:47:23 10:12:56 16:14:21
Monday 45.5 131.0 3:09:42 8:04:22 9:31:17
Tuesday 47.0 134.8 3:17:35 8:59:29 10:01:36
Wednesday 45.3 130.6 3:28:39 10:32:32 12:37:02
Thursday 41.2 122.1 3:23:54 11:09:41 13:48:50
Friday 35.3 100.2 3:06:20 14:46:25 17:45:22
Saturday 9.6 40.3 8:53:30 16:56:24 26:37:39

Avg. Emails Sent & Received by Day of the Week

Average emails sent & received by day of the week (Dec)

Emails Sent & Received by Day

Here’s a chart that shows average email activity by day, for each day, excluding spam:

Emails sent & received by day (Dec)

You can see the clear drop-off in email traffic for Christmas Eve (December 24), Christmas (December 25), and New Year’s Eve (December 31).

Average Spam Emails Received by Day

And here’s what spam emails look like over the course of the month:

Average spam emails received by day (Dec)

Part II: Email Response Time

Response time shows an interesting pattern. If we only record responses within work hours, then every day of the work week actually shows pretty similar response times. But if we look at it from an “actual” perspective (ie, the amount of actual time elapsed between receipt of an email and responding to it), then responses take longer as the week goes on.

Average Email Response Time by Day of the Week

Average response time by day of the week (Dec)

Average Email Response Time by Day

Here’s the average email response time by day:

Average email response time by day (Dec)

Again, we see the clear pattern of Mondays being the best day for response times, with a gradual increasing slowness as the week progresses.

Closing Thoughts

So, what wisdom can we draw from this data?

1. If you want a fast email response, send your email on a Monday.

Mondays have the fastest response time for both recipients and senders. As the week goes on, response times get slower.

2. …But if you want a thorough, detailed response, maybe pick a Friday.

People are dealing with the most email activity on Mondays. As such, they might be more likely to send a reply quickly so they can move on to the next email in their inbox. Fridays have the slowest email response time, but also the lowest email volume of the workday. So your recipient is more likely to have more time to respond to your email if you send it on a Friday.

3. If you want to improve your email response time (or your team’s), monitor it.

The Hawthorne effect has shown that simply knowing you’re being monitored — even if you’re the one monitoring yourself — causes your behavior to change. If you monitor your email response time, it’s likely to improve. EmailAnalytics customers respond to emails significantly faster (about 24%)  than non-EmailAnalytics customers, and that is likely at least partially due to the Hawthorne effect.

You can use this data to benchmark your own performance (or your team’s) in EmailAnalytics. Start a free trial and get instant access to your own email stats — no credit card required, and no software to install.

How do your stats measure up to these benchmarks?

Previous Months’ Reports

See previous months’ reports here!