The State Of Email Marketing in India

With almost 122,500,453,020 emails sent every hour in India, email is alive and here to stay for long. While marketers across the globe are embracing advanced personalization in email, India is leaving no stone unturned to win the email game.

A decade back, when internet penetration was low and e-commerce wasn’t so fierce, things were different. However, things have changed drastically over the years.

Internet Penetration is booming

Internet penetration in India is as low as 19%, but given the large population; even 19% amounts to a huge user base that can’t be neglected. In 2001, there were about seven million Internet users in India. That number is estimated to cross 550 million in 2018!. Mobile internet is really the game changer in India. One of the recent reports by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International expects mobile internet to cross 350 million by June 2015.

Talking about email, 33% India Marketers think that over 50% of emails are viewed on mobile devices, seeing a YoY growth of 25%. BFSI (Banking and Financial Services) sector is on the forefront with 39% BFSI Marketers’ reporting the same.

Hot opportunity for investing in email industry

So, if you think internet is a problem in India, it’s not, not even in the rural pockets. With limited email marketing companies operating in India, the market surely has a huge opportunity for revenue yet untapped. The maturity of email as a service model or industry is still not too competitive, but competition will grow rapidly. This might be the right time for companies abroad to invest in Indian email industry; especially when 51% of marketers feel emails is quite effective channel of marketing for them in India.

Let’s crunch some more numbers from this report developed by Octane about the state of email in India:

1. Primary online marketing activity that marketers rely on in India


As it is very evident from this report, email is preferable online marketing channel for marketers along with websites and social media.

2. Investment growth in channels


66% of marketers are ready for investing in social whereas 55% of marketers are keen to explore email marketing. According to the reports, email marketing investment was not given much importance before 4-5 years in India, but this has grown phenomenally by 38% over the last 5 years. Also, when asked about the % of budget allocation, the year-on-year trending data in the report shows that maximum marketers want to increase the email marketing budget by 11% to 30%.

With this investment pattern, there seems to be a lot of untapped opportunity for email industries to exploit India. Moreover, the Octane report also clarifies that most of the marketers surveyed used either homegrown solution or their marketing and IT teams for email deliverability. Inducing a need to use ESP will help many ESPs flourish the market.


As most marketers prefer not using a sophisticated ESP, they also face many challenges in terms of reaching out the audience and deliverability.


The report also surveyed marketers about the reasons that they feel are hampering deliverability and no wonder most email companies (small size) even today send out a lot of emails (mostly batch and blast) leading to deliverability issues. Top 3 reasons remain:

  • - frequency of sending emails
  • - sender reputation
  • - content

3. Email marketing practices in India

Firstly, the sending frequency in India seems to be very high. Around 59% of email marketers send at least one email per week and 29% of marketers send an email daily. 30% of marketers send out more than 50,000 emails monthly.

Secondly, most email marketers welcome email as a special program, deployed for new signups or registrations. Discount coupons remain limited at 20% marketers opting for it as a program. According to the AIMIA 2014 Loyalty Study, when asked about the activities that lead to maximum engagement, 45% Indian consumer responded to ‘Email offers’, which is 300% times more than US consumers (15%).

So, may be a special reward program shifting from welcome to value based offers might make sense in Indian market.


Moving further, the Top 3 practices that help India marketers reduce email spam includes:


Unlike western companies, there is less focus on relevant content, using shared vs. dedicated IP, list hygiene, etc. However, more marketers are now also aware about techniques like behavioral retargeting using email rather than simply relying on batch and blast. 86% of marketers feel behavioral targeting is the key to success for successful emailing in India.

When the survey asked marketers about email marketing segmentation techniques, demographics and interest based preferences were the most sought after techniques.


In terms of social media marketing and integrating it with email, in India 53% of email marketers feel social helps increasing email content’s reach.


India is emerging economy. With more marketers deciding to invest in sophisticated email marketing, more companies looking forward to invest in the Indian email industry, eventual growth in advanced enterprise ESPs and so much more, email marketing in India is surely going to see a glorious future.