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11 Graymail Statistics for the Modern Enterprise

Excessive promotional mail, also known as graymail, is impacting productivity and employee morale. Here are 11 startling graymail statistics.

August 17, 2022

For the vast majority of professionals, achieving inbox zero ranks high on their list of priorities. Unfortunately, when most employees receive an average of 120-130 emails every day, it can make accomplishing this goal feel like a pipe dream.

But it’s not just business emails that are filling up employee inboxes. Your workforce is also spending hours every week sorting cold call messages from vendors, event invitations, newsletters, and other types of promotional mail. These messages—known as graymail—clutter inboxes and distract employees, hindering productivity and contributing to burnout.

The challenge with graymail is that every message has varying value to each employee, which means filtering them en masse isn’t an option. However, placing the onus of managing graymail preferences solely on individual employees and IT teams can have significant, negative consequences.

Here are 11 graymail statistics that demonstrate how critical effective email management is.

11 Important Graymail Statistics

1. The average employee receives 23 graymail messages each week.

(Source: Abnormal)

2. 32% of employees have to dedicate at least one hour or more every day to sorting incoming email.

(Source: Mail Manager)

3. Graymail accounts for approximately 13% of all messages employees receive.

(Source: Abnormal)

4. Nearly 60% of employees report expending a noticeable amount of their productive energy just on managing their inboxes.

(Source: Mailbird)

5. Executives receive 230% of the graymail volume that other employees receive.

(Source: Abnormal)

6. More than one-third of employees believe their company’s current email management practices are insufficient.

(Source: Mailbird)

7. IT teams can dedicate as many as three hours each week exclusively to addressing tuning and configuration for spam and graymail.

(Source: Abnormal)

8. An executive receives 212 graymail messages each month.

(Source: Abnormal)

9. Almost half of all remote workers would rather clean their bathroom than sort through an inbox containing 10 days of unread messages.

(Source: Superhuman)

10. Executive assistants spend as many as 16 hours every week reviewing promotional content.

(Source: Abnormal)

11. One in five employees believe investing in a new solution is the best way to improve their current email management experience, but 60% say the time required to implement the technology is too big of a barrier.

(Source: Mailbird)

Enterprises Must Be Proactive about Graymail

In a vacuum, the 15-20 seconds it requires to read and sort a single graymail message is negligible. But when you consider the volume of graymail your employees receive and then multiply that across your entire workforce, it adds up to hundreds of hours of wasted time every month. Not to mention the time your IT team has to spend resolving deliverability issues and managing allowlists and blocklists.

Organizations must discontinue the use of legacy approaches to managing graymail that rely on signature-based detection and custom controls maintained by IT teams. This system is ineffective and time-consuming and forces enterprises to do one of two things:

  1. Push the problem downstream to employees through spam digests and end-user quarantine portals.

  2. Set global graymail policies and manage an endless queue of one-off customization requests from individuals.

Instead, enterprises need a solution that offers adaptive graymail control that automatically adjusts individual users’ protection based on identity, content, and user behavior.

Enterprises can’t disregard the impact of graymail, especially as the volume of email that employees receive will only grow each year. Being proactive and leveraging technology designed to effectively manage graymail is essential to preventing productivity losses.


Learn more about the Email Productivity add-on from Abnormal and see how you can put time-wasting email on autopilot mode.

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