Spam: share of global email traffic 2014-2019

Spam messages accounted for 54.68 percent of e-mail traffic in September 2019. That year, China generated the largest share of unsolicited spam e-mails with 20.43 percent of global spam volume. Despite its ubiquity, the global e-mail spam rate has actually been decreasing: the global annual spam e-mail rate in 2018 was 55 percent, down from 69 percent in 2012.

Spam e-mail

It is almost impossible to think about e-mail without considering the issue of spam. In 2018, 281.1 billion e-mails were sent and received on a daily basis. This includes billions of promotional e-mails sent by marketers every day. Whilst many e-mail users believe such content belongs in their spam folder, marketing e-mails are generally harmless, if annoying to the user. As of the second quarter of 2018, only 85 percent of marketing e-mails landed in a customer’s inbox and seven percent were caught by spam filters. However, things are improving for marketers: in 2018, the spam placement rate of commercial e-mails had declined to nine percent, down from 12 percent in 2015.

Malicious spam

Not all spam are benign promotional e-mails though. A significant portion of spam messages are of a more malicious nature, aiming to damage or hijack user systems. The most common variants of malicious spam worldwide include trojans, spyware, and ransomware.

Global spam volume as percentage of total e-mail traffic from January 2014 to September 2019, by month

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Release date

November 2019



Survey time period

January 2014 to September 2019

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