Cover Story: Who’s Emailing What?

The Bed Bath and Beyond email (seen here) is categorized as a classic “Retail Traffic Builder,” while the Brooks Brothers email is counted as “Catalogs-Consumer.”

The Bed Bath and Beyond email is categorized as a classic “Retail Traffic Builder,” while the Brooks Brothers email (seen here) is counted as “Catalogs-Consumer.”

Find out who's sending the most email, when and how personal it gets

There are 4 billion email accounts in the world. Roughly a billion of those are business addresses, and they send about 100 billion emails a day.

Those numbers come from the Radicati Group’s “Email Statistics Report, 2013-2017” (opens as a PDF). It also says, “Email remains the predominant form of communication in the business space.”

Many, many of those emails are sent by marketers to existing and potential customers as part of their direct marketing programs. In March, the “Media Usage Survey” showed just how many direct marketers use email marketing (very nearly all of us!). This month, we’re teaming up with our colleagues at Who’s Mailing What! (WMW!) to dive deeper into how they’re doing it by examining the email WMW! has collected.


Who’s Mailing What! is an online archive of direct mail and email marketing kept by our colleagues at Direct Marketing IQ, Target Marketing Group’s research division. The database collects more than 20,000 emails each month from 2,500 marketers and fundraisers in 220 product and service categories. WMW! doesn’t catch every marketing email that’s sent, but the large cross-section includes just about any marketer you’d want to examine, and its aggregate data offer an excellent view of the email marketing environment.

Is your industry flooding the email channel? When are other emailers sending? How many are leveraging data and personalization? Read on to shed more light on all of those questions.

Top 20 Email Industries
There is a lot of email going around the Web. But where does most of it come from?


As you can see in Chart 2, much of the email received by WMW! comes from “Catalogs-Consumer” and “Retail Traffic Builders” categories, which combine for 44 percent of the email represented in the Top 20 categories. That number goes up even further if you add the other catalog categories that made the Top 20: Food and Kitchenware, No. 7; Children/Teen, No. 9; and Consumer Books/Audios/Videos/DVDs, No. 10. These are similar email sends—they all push consumers toward a common item purchase. A consumer catalog mailing generally calls on the recipient to go make a purchase on a website, while the retail traffic builders are encouraging them to a bricks-and-mortar store to do the same.

Cheryl Cagle is the database/affiliates director for Direct Marketing IQ, the home of direct marketing research, and Who's Mailing What!
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