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New trends driving record surge in UK marketing email volumes, new report reveals

08 Oct 2013 11:05 BST Back
New trends driving record surge in UK marketing email volumes, new report reveals

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Monthly marketing email volumes hit an all-time UK record high in November 2012 peaking at 220m per ESP, according to the latest industry figures published today [8 October 2013] by the Direct Marketing Association. The DMA’s H2 2012 National email benchmarking report reveals that overall volumes across the second half of 2012 were up 25% compared to H2 2011. 

While volumes have risen for the third successive year, the report’s authors identify a new set of emerging trends that have accelerated growth in 2012. According to the UK’s ESPs interviewed for the study ‘effectiveness / ROI’ replaced ‘seasonality’ as their most commonly cited primary driver of email volumes. In Q1 2012 nearly half (47%) of ESPs attributed growth to seasonality, compared to just one in five (20%) who cited effectiveness / ROI as the main cause. However, by Q4 2012 less than one in five (17%) cited seasonality but more than two in five (42%) attributed growth to effectiveness / ROI. 

According to Dela Quist, CEO of Alchemy Worx, sponsor of the DMA’s National email benchmarking report, heightened belief in email’s effectiveness / ROI reveals ever-growing sophistication within email marketing: 

“The continued growth demonstrates a substantial and established trend that shows no signs of slowing down, an ever-increasing dependence on email. The rise in revenues generated from email has been driven by a number of factors, including higher send frequencies, growing databases and more complex segmentation. The report shows that increased email volumes need not mean lower rates of engagement and marketers are becoming increasingly adept at generating more revenue without alienating the customers on their database.”

James Bunting, Chair of the DMA Email Marketing Council’s benchmarking hub, added:

“It’s no surprise to me that the number-one factor driving up email volumes is 'effectiveness/ROI is playing a greater role'. Triggered and automated emails have diminished the reliance on seasonality as a key factor for volume, and with the expansion of technology in this area I can only see that trend continuing to raise frequency and ultimately volume. This is all great news for our channel proving that email still delivers ahead of some of the more fashionable channels.”

In other findings, the report also revealed that ESPs are managing significantly more email addresses, with list sizes increasing by 36% from Q1 to Q4 2012. Average monthly contact rates from brands to email addresses on their contact lists rose by 7% in H2 2012 from 2.1 in H2 2011 to 2.2 emails per person. Average unique open rates in Q4 2012 rose 14% compared to open rates in Q1 2012.

The DMA’s 2011 H2 National email benchmarking report, which surveys the UK’s top 20 ESPs, provides a regular half-yearly snapshot of the email marketing sector to measure performance on a number of important metrics to give marketers insight into prevailing industry trends.

Click here to download the DMA's H2 National email benchmarking report


About the report

This H2 National email benchmarking report 2012 released in October 2013 contains data collected during 2012. The survey is completed by leading UK email service providers (ESPs) who deliver the majority of outsourced email messages to business and consumer accounts in the UK. ESPs surveyed include member and non-member companies. Results are self-reported using their own calculations. Data is collected via the DMA with the help of Business Bound. All data is provided on a confidential basis and aggregated and analysed by the DMA’s research team.


The benchmarking process followed similar lines to those recommended by APQC’s International Benchmarking Clearinghouse, whose methodology has been recognised as the best amongst the numerous used throughout the world. Distilled from hundreds of organisations’ benchmarking experiences, these steps optimise the process and ensure successful outcomes.

For further information please contact the DMA press office:

Lakruwani Herath-Culley, DMA Press Officer
Tel.: 020 7291 3324

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