Best Number of Emails to send for Holiday Campaigns

This spring we published a benchmark report based on data from Q4 of 2016 looking at segmentation and automation for ecommerce shops. While the takeaways of the report were pretty interesting, there appeared to be so much more we could discover from all this data; especially in relation to the biggest shopping season for ecommerce marketers, the holidays.

One thing many ecommerce shops wonder is just how many emails they should send for their holiday campaign. I wanted to dive in and see what the average campaign send was and more importantly, what the most successful campaign sends looked like.

How many emails everyone is sending

After diving into the data, I discovered that ecommerce shops using Klaviyo last year sent an average of 15.21 emails for their holiday campaigns and had a click through rate of 1.6%.

15 emails seemed like a lot, but after taking a closer look I noticed a few outliers. A few customers sent over 100 emails throughout the holiday season, skewing our average.

Breakdown of number of emails sent by companies

Number of emails sent Percent of companies
1-10 55.6%
11-20 22.6%
21-30 9.1%
30+ 11.5%

A staggering 55.6% of companies were sending holiday campaigns with between 1-10 emails. And while this is interesting, it doesn’t highlight who exactly was finding success or what the magical range is for crushing revenue.

What is actually performing the best

Looking further into the breakdown of sends by industry and pulling the average revenue by emails sent, I discovered something pretty fascinating.

Businesses in the industries of fashion & apparel, arts & crafts, beauty & cosmetics, as well as food & beverage, were killing it when sending in the range of 21-30 emails. By “killing it” I mean they were making the best revenue by sending volume.

How much so? Here’s a look at the differences between 1-10 emails and 21-30.

Industry Increase in revenue
Fashion & apparel 17x
Arts & crafts 23x
Beauty & cosmetics 77x
Food & beverage 16x

Great, so everyone should send between 21-30 emails for a holiday campaign then?

Not exactly.

I wanted to see what these super successful campaigns were doing to generate these impressive revenue numbers.

Noticeable trends among top performers

While the four industries mentioned above all saw peak revenue by sending 21-30 emails, there were some noticeable differences between the strategies used for each industry. Let’s take a look at some successful practices from fashion, cosmetics, and food.

Fashion and apparel

Be very clear with what’s inside. Subject lines including a percentage off (especially on top of already discounted merchandise) performed well. As did subject lines that had a price point for a certain group of items.


      • Today only an extra 20% off
      • $25 and under holiday sweaters

Treat VIPs differently. A number of top performers had exclusive holiday campaign emails for their VIP customers. Because VIP’s are your most engaged customers, it makes sense that a VIP segment would perform better than an overall send.

Connect each email with a theme.  There were a number of campaigns centered around holiday themes like the 12 days of Christmas with different promotions.

Beauty & cosmetics

The subject lines were direct and often urgent. Similar to fashion and apparel, direct subject lines worked well. Noticeably, subject lines that included a sense of urgency or scarcity saw bumps in conversion.


  • Only 4 days left to purchase
  • Last chance to pick up our best selling t-shirt

Not everyone is getting 21-30 emails. Many of the top performing beauty and cosmetics retailers are segmenting out purchasers who have recently bought and only sending additional promotions to those who have not. An example would be filtering out someone who has purchased in the last three days.

Sending times are pretty smart. Clearly, the top performers are getting into the minds of their personas. Sending times for the most successful beauty and cosmetics campaigns seemed pretty strategic.

  • First thing in the morning, around 7am, when most are waking up or even doing their beauty routine.
  • At the end of the work day, between 5-6pm. Most are checking their phones or killing time during a commute home which is a great time to get a captive audience.
  • Late night, between 10-11pm. Another peak time for mobile usage right before bed or while watching TV.

Food & beverage

Tease a discount. Differing from the Fashion and Beauty industries, teasing at a discount inside an email worked very well for specialty food and beverage ecommerce shops.

Don’t stop sending after a major holiday. Offering additional discounts or offers after a holiday was a big revenue generator for many food and beverage businesses.

Final thoughts

Finding the right amount of emails to send for your holiday campaign really depends on which industry you’re in, the relationship you have built with your audience, and what you have learned year to year. If you fall into the industries of fashion, beauty, or food, following some of the noticeable trends mentioned can get you on the right path.


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