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 2021. We will update it for January 2021 sometime in early February.
We update this post monthly with new stats, so remember to bookmark this page!
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
- Executive Summary (Statistics Summary)
- Terms & Definitions
- Part I: Emails sent & received
- Part II: Email Response Time
- Part III: Month-by-Month Meta Analysis
- Closing Thoughts
- Previous Months’ Reports
Executive Summary (Statistics Summary)
Analysis vs. last month (November 2021)
Some notable changes vs. last month:
- Average response time (actual, excluding weekends): -0.52%
- Average response time (work hours, excluding weekends): -1.07%
- Average time to receive a response (actual, excluding weekends): +1.21%
- Average emails received per day (excluding weekends): -9.05%
- Average emails sent per day (excluding weekends): -10.13%
- Average spam received per day (excluding weekends): -0.16%
Benchmark stats: Including weekends
This set of statistics covers ALL of December 2021, including weekends.
- The average person received 67.0 emails per day, including spam
- The average person received 1.4 spam emails per day
- The average person sent 19.1 emails per day
- 4.1 (21.71%) of those sent emails were in response to a received email
- 10.4 (15.81%) of all non-spam emails received were responses
- Average response time (actual): 15h 35m 53s
- Average response time (work hours): 5h 35m 17s
- Average time to receive a response (actual): 13h 05m 52s
Benchmark stats: Excluding weekends
If we exclude weekends, we get a clearer picture of what a true workday looks like. Here’s what the stats look like if we exclude all weekends:
- The average person received 80.5 emails per day, including spam
- The average person received 1.7 spam emails per day
- The average person sent 23.9 emails per day
- 4.0 (16.62%) of those sent emails were in response to a received email
- 9.7 (12.27%) of all non-spam emails received were responses
- Average response time (actual): 15h 15m 40s
- Average response time (work hours): 5h 25m 34s
- Average time to receive a response (actual): 19h 29m 08s
This data comes from a random sample of 1106 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).
We removed the following users from our data:
- Users with zero sent or received emails
- The top and bottom 5% of users by total email volume (to remove outliers and improve accuracy)
All data is localized to each user’s time zone.
About 41% of the data is from US-based customers. Here’s the 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:
- 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.
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)|
Emails Sent & Received by Day
Avg. Emails Sent & Received by Day of the Week
Here’s a chart that shows average email activity by day, for each day, excluding spam:
Average Emails Sent & Received by Hour of the Day
What does a typical workday look like in terms of email activity? Check out the chart below. The X-axis represents each of the 24 hours of a day, where 0 is midnight.
Here we see a pretty clear ramp-up beginning around 6am, with a pre-lunch peak in activity by around 11am.
There’s a dip in activity around noon, which is when most people are probably taking their lunch break. Then, we see another rise in activity, peaking around 2pm before starting a late-afternoon decline. By 7pm, email activity has leveled off for the night.
Average Spam Emails Received by Day
And here’s what spam emails look like over the course of the month:
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 Email Response Time by Day
Here’s the average email response time by day:
Again, we see the clear pattern of Mondays being the best day for response times, with a gradual increasing slowness as the week progresses.
Part III: Month-by-Month Meta Analysis
Let’s take a look at how things are progressing month-by-month in 2021 so far.
Emails Sent & Received by Month
The average number of received and sent emails started by increasing as we progressed into 2021, but in April that trend reversed, and continued into May. It ticked back up again in June.
Response Time by Month
We see an interesting divergence here with response time. EmailAnalytics customers’ response time is represented by the yellow and blue lines, while the red line represents all responses received from anyone (EA and non-EA users).
EA customers’ response time is consistently faster than non-EA users.
So, what wisdom can we draw from this data?
1. If you want a fast email response, send your email on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays 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 lowest email volume of the work week. 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.
EmailAnalytics customers respond to emails significantly faster than non-EmailAnalytics customers, and that is likely at least partially due to the Hawthorne effect.
The Hawthorne effect says 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. If you monitor your team’s email response time and activity, it’s likely to improve.
4. Use this benchmark data to see how your team measures up.
How many emails does your team send and receive every day? What is their average response time? 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 team’s stats measure up to these benchmarks?
Previous Months’ Reports
See previous months’ reports here!
- November 2021
- October 2021
- September 2021
- August 2021
- July 2021
- June 2021
- May 2021
- April 2021
- March 2021
- February 2021
- January 2021
- December 2020
- November 2020
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.