Experian Marketing Services has recently issued its Q2 2013 Quarterly Email Benchmark Study and the figures it contains provide some interesting … nah … shocking insights into how quickly email recipient behavior is changing year-to-year. Most of the statistics within this study will not just raise eyebrows across the email marketing world, but will surely drop an inordinate number of jaws as well.

Mobile has won the email market, hands-down

The unique opens threshold has been breached and mobile has won. Exactly half of all unique opens occurred on a mobile device with desktop and webmail scoring an identical 23% each. For unique clicks mobile is also the highest scorer here with 40%, followed by webmail at 35% and desktop only bringing up the rear at just 19%. Therefore the emphasis which has been placed on mobile marketing in the past few years has not been for naught, as mobile devices are effectively leading the market.

Why do they open on mobile but check out on desktop?

When it comes to transaction behavior, it seems bizarre that most people open on mobile but are not quite comfortable with completing their transactions on those devices, preferring to default to the larger screens when it comes time to actually buying. Mobile is responsible for only 13% of this total, with desktop at 25% and webmail leading the parade at 48%. It is inevitable that billions of dollars in potential annual sales across industries are being lost because of the delay caused by this device switching. The reasons that a customer would open on the road but wait until they get home to purchase must be the subject of intensive query and research. The brands which manage to resolve this issue and drive a greater number of checkouts through the mobiles where the email is originally opened will be the ones that will benefit from massively increased sales and profits.

Apple users transact far more than Android ones

The Apple vs. Android wars take their most surprising turn when it comes to how each customer actually behaves. What is it about the Apple juice which gives that segment the most outrageously high consumer behavior even on a per capita basis against Android? Even though Android has more sold units and active subscribers than Apple, the numbers are staggering in the Fruit Company’s favor: 68% of unique opens are on iPhone, 19% on iPad, and just 13% on Android. When it comes to unique clicks, iPhone leads at 57% with iPad at 15% and Android at 20%. Transactions belong to the iPad at 48%, with iPhone at 40% and Android at a miserly 12%. Mobile marketers certainly don’t need to be told to target the Apple crowd.

Significant year-to-year changes

The report also provides some stunning year to year changes in various aspects of consumer behavior. From the standards in 2012, the 2013 figures have boomed in the following percentages:

  • Total open rate – Up 4.1%
  • Unique open rate – Up 7.2%
  • Average order – Up 22.5%

Unfortunately there’s a downside as well as most metrics have actually dropped between 2012 and 2013.

  • Revenue per email – Down 4.3%
  • Unique click rate – Down 6.1%
  • Click to open – Down 10.7%
  • Transaction to click – Down 13.5%
  • Total click rate – Down 13.9%
  • Transaction rate – Down 21.6%

However, there are some metrics that are down which are actually good news:

  • Bounce rate – Down 23.5%
  • Unsubscribe rate – Down 23.5%

Marketers are cleaning up their act

The picture that this study draws is that more people are opening and they are ordering not only more product but also most likely more expensive product. However, the engagement which online marketers are scoring with their target market is failing, especially in the case of transaction rates. Fortunately the report demonstrates that email marketers are getting better at “cleaning up their act” as a drop of nearly a quarter in both bounce and unsubscribe rates clearly indicates that the adoption of email best practices is taking root at an accelerating pace.

The email market is evidently in flux but by carefully analyzing these figures, coherent strategies can be concocted to improve all aspects of your brand’s campaign.