Email spam continues to be a major issue for individuals and businesses alike, with countless unwanted messages flooding inboxes every day.
In this resource, we will explore the latest email spam statistics for 2023, both globally and by country, shedding light on the scale of this persistent problem.
By understanding the prevalence of email spam, we can better protect ourselves and our organizations against the potential risks and consequences of this unwanted communication.
Key Email Spam Statistics in 2023
- Global spam emails were highest in July 2021, with nearly 283 billion emails being spam out of just over 336 billion emails.
- Nearly 85% of all emails are spam.
- That translates into an average daily volume of 122.33 billion messages globally.
- The second largest category of spam emails falls within adult content.
- Microsoft accounts are the most popular targets of phishing emails, accounting for 43% of all phishing attempts.
- A single spam email has a carbon footprint of almost 0.03g of CO2e.
- 86% of organizations experienced bulk phishing email attacks in 2022.
- Financial-related emails account for 26.5% of all unwanted emails.
- Over 99% of spam attacks depend on human interaction to be successful.
Global Email Spam Statistics 2023
This section will address some global email spam statistics and facts.
1. Global Spam Emails Were Highest in July 2021, with Nearly 283 Billion Emails Being Spam out Of Just Over 336 Billion Emails.
In 2021, global spam reached its peak in July with almost 283 billion emails being spam out of 336 billion emails, which accounted for over 84% of all emails.
So, 84% of all emails sent in July 2021 included spam content.
2. Global Spam Email Statistics from June 2020 to January 2021 Showed that Almost 85% of All Emails Are Spam.
This means that in the 6-7 months between June 2020 and January 2021, 85% of the emails received were spam emails.
The daily number of spam emails regularly fluctuates.
Statistics show that since the pandemic, the average daily spam email volume has fallen to just more than 122 billion from nearly 317 billion.
3. The Second Largest Category of Spam Emails Falls Within Adult Content.
Around 32% of all spam emails contain adult-themed content.
With the world wide web being full of adult content, statistical data shows that most phishing and malware emails include adult content.
The most profitable sub-category in adult-related content spam emails comes from dating site spam, which seems to be favored by spammers.
4. Advertising Emails Account for At Least 36% of All Global Spam Email Content.
The most common form of spam emails are advertising emails.
These advertisements range from apparel and health and beauty products to “miracle’” supplements and restaurant chains.
5. In 2020, Spain Experienced the Most Spam Attacks.
Unfortunately, only 7.76% of those who received spam emails had an active antivirus on their systems.
While antivirus programs don’t catch everything, they do significantly cut down on spam, viruses, and other malware. Russia came in second with a 6.33% target rate.
6. Statistics Reveal that Spam Emails Accounted for About 88.88 Billion out Of 105.67 Billion Emails Worldwide in September 2021.
According to Statista, the average volume of email spam rose by 36%, which is how 88.88 billion out of 105.67 billion spam emails occurred.
However, the United States is the country where the most emails were sent.
7. A Single Spam Email Has a Carbon Footprint of Almost 0.03g of CO2e.
In 2021, the volume of email spam messages may have accounted for around 4.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e).
Even non-spam emails account for 10.0g of CO2e.
About 169 billion non-spam emails were sent in 2021, and it’s estimated that 1.69 thousand tons of CO2e was distributed.
(The Radicati Group, Inc.)
8. According to October 2021 Statistics, the United States Is the Country that Sends out The Most Spam Emails.
The United States is at the top of the roster for the most spam emails sent, as of October 2021, with about 8.61 billion emails that included spam content.
China isn’t far behind with 8.53 billion spam emails sent in the same month.
Russia (8.09 billion), Brazil (8.03 billion), India (7.97 billion), Germany (7.9 billion), Czech Republic (7.83 billion are just a little behind the bigger countries for sending email spam.
Three other countries with high email spam senders include Poland, Bulgaria, and the UK, with 7.71 billion being sent.
General Email Spam Statistics
In this section, we’ll discuss a few general email spam stats and facts for your consideration.
Most of this data will come from the Poneman Institute’s 2022 State of the Phish report.
9. According to The Ponemon Institute’s 2022 Report, 86% of Organizations Experienced Bulk Phishing Email Attacks.
Surveys show that email phishing rose between 2020 and 2021 by 12% year-over-year. Targeted phishing attacks rose even more.
Bulk phishing attacks in 2020 accounted for 77% of email attacks. A mere 14% of organizations across the globe claim they suffered no phishing attacks.
Phishing is the most common type of email spam across the world. Phishing is where email senders distribute malicious emails for nefarious purposes.
They aim to trick people into falling for their scams. The most common intent is to get users to share their confidential financial data.
(Proofpoint Research, Proofpoint Research 2)
10. Business Email Compromises (BECs) occurred in 77% of Organizations in 2021.
BECs are also on the rise, with 65% of organizations experiencing email compromises in 2020.
The 2022 numbers are expected to be higher but remain to be seen as those numbers are revealed. Only 23% of organizations claimed to suffer any BECs.
BEC stands for business email compromise, which means the company’s email servers were breached.
The scammers target companies that engage in wire transfers with global suppliers. These attackers rely heavily upon social engineering.
(Proofpoint Research, Trend Micro)
11. In 2021, Spear Phishing, and Whaling Attacks Rose to 79% Among Global Organizations.
The volume of whaling and spear phishing attacks impacted 79% of global organizations in 2021.
Only 2% of these attacks were reported as unknown if an organization was affected, while only 21% claimed there were no such attacks at all.
Spear Phishing is known for being an attempt to get sensitive and confidential information, or access to a computer network/system through spam, counterfeit emails.
These emails appear to be legitimate, but the goal of the sender is to gain access to financial data.
A whaling attack, also called whaling phishing, is a distinct type of phishing attack used to target an organization’s high-level corporate employees to steal company information.
These emails are commonly sent to chief executive officers (CEOs), or chief financial officers (CFOs).
(Proofpoint Research, The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, TechTarget)
12. 15% of Employees Claim They Got an Email Impersonating Their Company.
Phishing emails are sometimes sent out to individuals within an organization in the hopes they can gain access to the information they want.
Unfortunately, most employees aren’t well trained, and they don’t recognize such an attack right away.
13. In 2021, Worldwide BEC Attacks Came at An Average Cost of $5.96 Million for Organizations.
Phishing, whaling, spear phishing, and any form of email spam is illegal. With an average cost of $5.96 million in 2021 for businesses, it’s certainly not a victimless crime.
Businesses aren’t the only ones affected. People who do business with these companies are also affected when their information is compromised.
14. the Percentage of People Who Have Admitted They Got at Least One Suspicious-Looking Attachment in Their Email Is 39%.
The statistics don’t mention whether these individuals recognized the suspicious email attachment.
It only mentions survey respondents who said they got at least one email attachment that looked suspicious.
15. Roughly 96% of Phishing Attacks Come Through Email Attachments.
While most phishing attacks are sent via email, some come in the form of a clickable link in a text or message.
Some may even come in the form of advertisements, called malvertising. These appear to be normal ads, but they are not.
16. According to Talos Intelligence, the Average Number of Legitimate Emails Sent per Day Is 22.43 Billion.
As we have learned, spam emails are rampant, especially among organizations.
Since global email and internet traffic tends to be the busiest methods of communication, spam is that malicious type of email that interrupts daily global business.
17. Financial-Related Emails Account for 26.5% of All Unwanted Emails.
The finance sector is the third-largest email spam category in the world.
Over one-quarter of spam emails come from spammers sending bogus financial news and emails.
Alongside financial news, software services and commercials are within this same category of unwanted spam emails.
18. Email Spammers Are Persistent for Sending Emails that Only Get One Reply out Of Every 12,500,000 Emails Sent.
That’s right. People who send spam emails only get one response for every 12.5 million emails they send.
Therefore, they literally flood the World Wide Web with an outrageous number of emails.
It costs them nothing in terms of money, but they certainly don’t help CO2 emissions.
19. Statistics Show that Email Spam Sites Earn Spammers About $7,000 Each Day.
You read that right. A spammer can earn about $7,000 per day sending out their spammy emails. Spammers are known to send bulk emails as a job.
They are essentially third-party companies that email messages (spam) for a service or product that’s being advertised.
These emails appear to be legitimate, when they are spam and sometimes malicious. They are at least annoying.
20. Over 99% of Spam Attacks Depend on Human Interaction to Be Successful.
When it comes to succeeding as an email spammer, it takes at least two parties. The sender of the spam email and the person to click the spam link.
These professional spammers create tricky, very real- and important-looking emails. It’s up to up to recognize the intent behind such emails.
It’s better to not click a link inside an email or message than to fall victim to malware.
It can be an email attachment that looks like it’s from work, or an official company, or a document or link that looks legit.
Being careful can save you and your company a lot of money.
(Proofpoint Research 3, Help Net Security)
21. In 2019, United States citizens lost around $703,000 to the Nigerian Prince scam.
The Nigerian Prince scam has been around for a long, long time.
Yet, in 2019, Americans lost around $703,000 to the well-known scam. This is an evergreen scam that keeps on giving to scammers.
22. Microsoft accounts are the most popular targets of phishing emails, accounting for 43% of all phishing attempts.
Despite the common belief that hackers only target the rich and famous, recent statistics suggest otherwise.
According to a recent Apple email phishing report, almost half of all phishing scams are aimed at stealing Microsoft Outlook passwords.
Additionally, spam scams are also focused on acquiring LinkedIn (6%) and Amazon (5%) credentials.
Can You Reduce Your Email Carbon Footprint?
You can reduce your email cardon footprint. We can’t just boycott email, but we can do a few things to help.
1. Delete unnecessary, unwanted, unused emails. Doing so will delete it from the server, which will emit less CO2 for storing them.
2. Unsubscribe from any unwanted emails. While deleting them helps, unsubscribing to things you’re not that interested in permanently removes wanted emails.
3. Regularly empty your email trash folder. Even though some email clients automatically delete trash emails after 30 or 60 days, you can help by emptying your trash emails more often. Daily, bi-weekly, or weekly.
4. Don’t send one-word or very short emails. Emails that just say “thanks”, “yes”, “sure”, or “will do” are not always necessary.
5. Turn off your social media email notifications. They are not necessary, and they increase the carbon footprint.
6. Set a goal to have an inbox of zero emails when possible.
7. Clean up email lists.
These are a few things you can do as an individual or business to reduce your email carbon footprint.
Why Is It Called Spam?
In 1937, Spam luncheon meat was introduced to the public. Hormel
Foods manufactured canned Spam, which was very popular on grocery shelves.
There are two trains of thought about how Spam became spam emails.
1. This theory states that Spam comes from a meat substitute, which makes it a fake meat. This assumption isn’t true, but this is one theory of how it translated into spam, or fake emails.
2. Another theory claims that spam emails came from a sketch from the Monty Python Flying Circus movie in 1970. The sketch shows a group of consumers singing and yelling about Spam as they drown out all other conversations in the skit. Somehow this represents how spam drowns out your real emails.
We are not sure which theory is legit, but both could fit the concept of spam email.
Which Companies Send the Most Spam Emails?
There are three companies known for flooding the internet with marketing emails (spam).
These three companies include Goodreads, Live Nation, and StumbleUpon.
While these are the top three offenders, we also have Target, Old Navy, Groupon, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
What Makes Spam Emails so Harmful?
Most of the time, spam emails are just a nuisance. However, about 2.5% of spam can be very harmful.
They may include phishing, malware, identity theft, or other scams that can do major damage to a person’s lifestyle and finances or a business’ finances.
If you read the whole article, you will understand its effect.
It’s common to get one or two spammy emails a day from legitimate marketing campaigns, even with spam filters on that cause no harm, though they are annoying.
However, without spam filters of some kind, you could be putting yourself and your computer or mobile devices at risk.
Spam emails, phishing, malware, and other harmful attachments or links are sent out every day to businesses and individuals all over the world.
It’s crucial to have an antivirus with spam filters and updated malware protection to give you some peace of mind.
There seems to be a consensus among experts in cyber security and other fields of IT that spam emails will continue to rise, even with advanced technology to combat it in play.
Now that you have the 2023 email spam statistics, how will you protect yourself?