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 January 2021. We will update it for February 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 Jan 2021

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Including weekends & holidays

This set of statistics covers ALL of January 2021, including weekends and holidays.

  • The average person received 62.4 emails per day, including spam
  • The average person received 2.0 spam emails per day
  • The average person sent 24.0 emails per day
  • 3.5 (14.53%) of those sent emails were in response to a received email
  • 7.0 (11.58%) of all non-spam emails received were responses
  • Average response time (actual): 12h 56m 01s 
  • Average response time (work hours): 5h 31m 28s
  • Average time to receive a response (actual): 14h 50m 03s

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 holiday:

Friday, January 1st (New Year’s Day)

  • The average person received 83.7 emails per day, including spam
  • The average person received 2.6 spam emails per day
  • The average person sent 33.4 emails per day
  • 3.3 (9.83%) of those sent emails were in response to a received email
  • 6.5 (8.02%) of all non-spam emails received were responses
  • Average response time (actual): 11h 48m 40s  
  • Average response time (work hours): 3h 50m 58s
  • Average time to receive a response (actual): 11h 45m 51s

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:

Friday, January 1st (New Year’s Day):

  • The average person received 18.2 emails, not including spam
  • The average person sent 5.0 emails
  • Average response time (actual): 15h 27m 52s  
  • Average response time (work hours): 3h 43m 34s
  • Average time to receive a response (actual): 32h 23m 54s

Methodology

This data comes from a random sample of 591 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:

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.

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  • 35-50% of sales go to the first-responding vendor.
  • Following up within an hour increases your chances of success by 7x.
  • Salespeople spend an average of 13 hours per week on email.

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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 6.3 20.1 8:52:46 10:43:36 13:27:28
Monday 35.2 84.8 3:52:37 9:19:39 9:14:09
Tuesday 34.2 86.5 3:54:56 9:51:28 9:39:16
Wednesday 33.8 84.2 3:50:33 10:17:30 10:11:34
Thursday 33.3 85.9 3:54:51 12:33:21 11:55:52
Friday 26.3 67.5 3:44:04 17:02:38 18:21:07
Saturday 5.2 20.9 9:54:56 19:50:50 24:54:21

Avg. Emails Sent & Received by Day of the Week

Average emails sent & received by day of the week

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

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.

Average emails sent and received by hour of the day

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.

The X-axis represents each of the 24 hours of a day, where 0 is midnight.

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

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

Average Email Response Time by Day

Here’s the average email response time by day:

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.

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 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!