Getting your email to the inbox is the defining factor in any email marketing campaign. If your email can’t get to the inbox, it won’t be read and recipients will be unable to click-through and convert!

In short, bad deliverability can grind your email marketing campaigns to a halt! Things aren’t getting easier, according to ReturnPath.

Using a representative sample of more than 357 million commercial email messages sent with permission to consumers around the world, ReturnPath published a recent research paper. This paper focused on delivery rates based on email marketing performance across more than 150 mailbox providers in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions.

Statistics of Email Delivery Rates 2015

According to the paper, deliverability rates are dropping across the world. Only 79% of permission based email marketing messages reached their intended inboxes with the rest either getting blocked outright or getting send to the spam folder. This is a decline of 4% from 2014 when 83% of all emails were delivered to inboxes around the world.

Things weren’t looking brighter in the USA, which received the lowest average delivery rating with only 76% of the total emails sent reaching their intended destination. This means that 1 in every 4 emails went missing – below the global average. Compared to 2014’s result of 87%, it does seem to raise a red flag for email marketers operating out of the states.

The worst of the figures came from Brazil with only 74% of emails reaching potential customer’s inboxes, however, this was a significant improvement from 2014 when only 60% of emails sent from the country were received.  

ReturnPath also looked at email delivery rates at industries that use email marketing extensively.

Messages from brands in the apparel (92%), food and beverage (93%), hospitality (87%), and travel (85%) sectors reached consumers more reliably than others. Meanwhile messages from media and entertainment (73%) and telecommunications (74%) senders were less likely to reach their targets.

This is Nothing to be Alarmed About

No-one is stopping you from sending your regular newsletters out!

Every year the drop in email delivery is expected to drop due to the amount of spammers that get blocked from the inbox. ISPs and Email Service Providers are constantly coming up with new ways to detect and filter out spam automatically so that you don’t have to put up with the constant flow of irrelevant email.

Inbox placement at Yahoo dropped by 13% – a trend that has continued for years, while Google has kept steady thanks to their promotions tab in Gmail.

The Top 3 Causes of Bad Inbox Placement

Low Read Rate

The study found that emails from senders that weren’t usually read were bound to eventually find their way to the spam filter or completely blocked over time.

Spam Complaints

As always, complaints about email sends from recipients will always be a factor on email delivery. Be sure to send your email to opt-in customers only, and always keep your content interesting, valuable and relevant.

Low Mailbox Usage

Sending to inactive email addresses hurts your email delivery with every send. Regularly cleaning your email delivery list can help you identify and remove inactive email addresses.

For those that are interested in the stats they can read the full report here, or brush up on their email deliverability with our spam prevention articles and best practice email sender guidelines.


  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.