Online Shopping Trends Reveal Best Days and Times to Email Customers

We just finished a comprehensive study on the best days and times to email customers based on purchase rate. In other words, we looked at the online shopping trends of hundreds of thousands of shoppers to determine the best time your eCommerce shop should be communicating with customers.

Best Days and Times to Email Customers Infographic

Now, you might be thinking,there are already hundreds of articles about the best days and times to email customers. And these studies present you with the exact days and times for sending successful email campaigns.

There’s a problem with these studies.

These articles are only looking at times that correlate with the highest open and click rates, not online shopping trends.

Moreover, they’re based on email blast data, not intelligent and behavioral-based emails.

This got us thinking.

When is the purchase rate on emails highest?

Open and click rates indicate engagement, but they don’t indicate online shopping trends or how effective your emails are at generating purchases. We call this the purchase rate.

As an eCommerce shop owner and email marketer, knowing the days and times with highest purchase rate is crucial to determining when your emails can generate the most profit and revenue.

Time for a quick refresher:

  • Open rate is the percentage of customers that open your email.
  • Click rate is the percentage of customers that click on your email.
  • Purchase rate is the percentage of customers that place an order after receiving your email.

The best time to send an email is when your e-commerce customers are most likely to shop online and place orders.

How we conducted the study

We looked at hundreds of thousands of emails sent by thousands of eCommerce stores across the globe. We normalized all time zones and looked at the purchase rate aggregated from multiple types of email campaigns.

These email campaigns are based on customer shopping behavior and triggered by customer events online. These campaigns included, but are not limited to, abandoned carts, order follow ups, welcome series emails, inactive customer follow ups, loyalty programs and newsletters.

We looked at emails sent within the last year to be as accurate as possible, because looking at data when the Palm Treo was around doesn’t seem right.

Now, the part you’ve been waiting for.

We’re going to break it down by days of the week, followed by specific hours.

Best days to send email campaigns

What day to email customers graph and study

Monday

Many sources, including MailChimp, say Monday is one of worst days to send email. Why? Because your inbox is flooded from over-the-weekend sales and inevitably all those emails will drown.

Plus, everyone is still hungover tired from the weekend.

So is manic Monday really a thing? Not so fast.

Hungover or not, people are still online shopping on Monday.

We found that Monday isn’t so manic, and is actually a very popular day for online orders. The third most popular after Tuesday and Wednesday.

So it may be worth your while to send out an email to get customers shopping at your store.

Tuesday

Or as I like to call it, Monday Part II, is a great day. For college students everywhere it’s Tequila Tuesday, a time in which tequila shots are  a dollar, and the price of bad decisions, even less.

For functioning adults, Tuesday is the day they have finally shaken off the weekend, are in the groove, and engaged with work, email and of course, shopping online.

Tuesday is top-notch for sending emails to customers.

Our analysis revealed Tuesday has the second highest purchase rate behind Wednesday.

That’s why it should be a prime day for some strategic email marketing.

Wednesday

Our data on email send times reveals Wednesday has the highestpurchase rate. Thus, more orders are being placed on Wednesday than any other day of the week as a result of your email campaigns.

So why not Wednesday?

If I were a lesser woman, and/or that annoying camel from the Geico commercial, I’d change that bolded question above to How About Hump Day?

Luckily for everyone involved, I am not.

Best days to email customers on Wednesday

But seriously, why not Wednesday? Some sources, such as Smart Insights, argue that Wednesday is merely an OK option. That’s crazy talk.

While you have nothing to lose sending on Wednesday, you definitely have much to gain.

That, coupled with steady open and click rates, you might want to reconsider the midweek as a good send option.

Sunday

The dark horse in our study is the day of rest.

And on the seventh day, there was shopping.

While many companies would say to avoid Sunday just as you would Saturday, our research indicates that there is a spike in orders on Sunday.

People are winding down the weekend with some online shopping. It may be worth your time to send some carefully crafted campaigns.

Consider emailing your inactive customers on Sunday or letting your shoppers know of a sale or new items in stock.

While Sunday doesn’t have the purchase rate of Thursday, there is clearly big opportunities for merchants.

Worst days to send emails

Thursday

Thirsty Thursday, as the youths call it. A day you can expect drink deals and some sort of appetizer promotion at your local Ruby Tuesday.

Disclaimer: I’ve never actually been to a Ruby Tuesday so that might not be true. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually even seen a Ruby Tuesday.

Back to the point.

Aggregated data shows that it’s the second most popular day to send emails. Open and click rates are consistent with those from Tuesdays.

But as far as orders being placed, Thursday was fourth on the list. Just be thoughtful about sending on Thursday, depending on what you wish to accomplish with your email blasts.

Friday

If you’re at all familiar with the Rebecca Black song “Friday” you know that Friday is a time for “fun, fun, fun, fun” and people “looking forward to the weekend.”

Nowhere in that lyrical masterpiece does she mention a time and place for email marketing.

When it comes to Friday, forget it.

The weekend is in sight and people are dipping out of the office early. Friday is a less-than-happy hour day to send emails.

It’s a no-go for ordering, as well as open and click rates.

Saturday

Let’s be real here, are you checking your email on Saturday? Didn’t think so. Saturday is a time for brunch, CostCo runs and farmer’s markets.

Saturday is so not the time.

It’s a dead zone for email marketing. Don’t send, because your customers aren’t opening and they aren’t ordering

Best times to send emails

what time of day to send emails to customers graph and study

We’ve broken down days of the week, but what about the specific times during these days to send?

In this modern age, people are constantly online and they’re conducting serious business.

They’re sending important work emails (spamming friends with Grumpy Cat memes), networking via social media (Facebook stalking exes), and keeping up with the latest, hard-hitting news (Buzzfeed).

But when are they online shopping?

Our data shows between 9am and 1pm, and again between 5pm and 6pm are times when purchase rate is highest. 10am is the ultimate primo time.

These times differ from the data found on when to send an email. Countless marketing websites such as eConsultancy argue sending email too early in the morning should be avoided.

There are some similarities in the timing though. Especially around early afternoon when there is a high percentage of people placing orders at lunch time.

Worst times to send emails

Our data showed that the least popular times to send are from 1am to 7am.

This is pretty self explanatory because everyone, minus a few insomnia suffering outliers, is sleeping.

We always suggest to continue testing out times to see which work best for your specific company and customer base.

Knowing as much as possible about your customer habits, patterns and overall trends will make you a better email marketer.

It will also make your shop more successful.

TL;DR – Best Days and Times to Email Customers

So, we just went over a lot, so let’s recap make this really digestible.

Best Days to Send Based on Purchase Rate (from best to worst)

  1. Wednesday
  2. Tuesday
  3. Monday
  4. Thursday
  5. Sunday
  6. Friday
  7. Saturday

Best Times to Send Based on Purchase Rate

  1. Between 8am and 1pm
  2. Between 5pm and 6pm

Still have questions? Drop us a line. We’re here for you.

Can’t get enough?

Read these other articles about the best email and eCommerce practices.
How to grow sales without coupons 
Email marketing vs. Email remarketing 
Four automated email campaigns you should be running 


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Infographic by Christina Ohanesian

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