11 Spam Statistics To Spam Your Friends With

Updated · Dec 21, 2022

Could there be anything more annoying than spam?

Emails from your boss or professor are already stressful enough, so people must have some nerve to email spam too.

In 2021, for example, spam complaints were up 146%, and matters only got worse and worse. The latest spam statistics make for a rather grim reading. Unsolicited emails have become a part of the human condition.

So, if you see an upsettingly increasing amount of spam directed to your inbox, you are one of the billions who waste time deleting and reporting it.

The Most Worrying Spam Email Statistics (Editor’s Choice):

  • Spam accounts for 85% of the total email traffic worldwide.
  • The numbers for spam emails are even more staggering, with 122.3 billion sent every day though most get caught by spam filters.
  • Common spam emails obtain a single response for each 12.5 million emails dispatched.
  • Estimations suggest that more than 22 billion unsolicited emails traverse the internet every single day.
  • Companies have started taking note, with 52% of them claiming that spam reduction was among their top priorities.
  • Gmail services block over 100 million phishing emails daily. 

Spam Statistics That Will Still Matter in 2023

Some things remain relevant, and sadly, spam is one of them.

Whether you like it or not, it will always be there as long as email services exist. The fact of the matter is that the email system is not designed to combat spam. It was created in more innocent and much less interconnected times.

So we’d better get used to it and see how the spam stats will help us foretell the fate of the most unpleasant digital junk.

1. The first spam email made it to nearly 400 people back in 1978.

(Source: Market Place)

In 2023, we honor the 45th anniversary of what came to be the most nerve-wracking product of human ingenuity.

And if you ever wake up in a grumpy mood, you can always blame it on Gary Thuerk, who began an awful trend on 3 May 1978 when the first spam email was sent

It was a computer-selling commercial that reached over 300 users on ARPANET (the ancestor of the internet). Even though Thuerk’s intention was not to create a massive online tool of torture, that’s what it eventually came out to be.

The monster was unleashed and is constantly growing.

Do you know how many spam emails are sent per day?

2. The number of spam emails globally reaches 14.5 billion each day.

(Source: Spam Laws)

However, some reports estimate that this number is as big as 122.23 billion daily spam emails. If we recall that 85% of the total email traffic is considered spammy, such a gargantuan number should not come as a surprise.

Things wouldn’t have been that bad if repeatedly sent emails actually had some real information. Supposedly, when we filter spam emails, only 22.43 billion contain legitimate content. That’s no more than 18%, so the junk mail facts truly are concerning.

But is that trend looking up?

3. Global spam has reduced to 45.6% of our emails in 2021.

(Source: Statista)

The good news is that 2021 is the year with the lowest spam ratio ever recorded.

Just a decade earlier, in 2011, 80.3% of the total emails worldwide were junk. 2021 has nearly halved the spam emails sent per day. However, the unsavory heights of 2011 were never reached, with 2012 recording a sharp decrease down to 72.1%.

Afterward, the proportion of spam kept dropping steadily, with a few slight spikes here and there in 2016 (58.3%) and 2019 (56.5%). But the overall trend remains promising.

The reason for that is twofold. There is a general increase in email volume, but also an improvement in spam filters.

Sadly, the overall decline in undesired messages doesn’t happen everywhere.

4. Americans are drowning in spam more than ever.

(Source: Axios)

And it’s not only email but also calls that torture Americans on a daily basis.

As of March 2022, a staggering amount of 11.7 billion spam texts and additional 7.6 billion calls disturbed the US. Add to that a staggering 228 million robocalls daily (not all reached recipients, but still), plus a total of 19.3 billion spam messages which is truly an outstanding number, and you get a very disturbing picture.

Just a year earlier, in April 2021, spam calls stood below the 6 billion mark, while spam texts barely made it to 1.5 billion. 

5. September 2022 recorded a global number of spam emails of 88.88 billion.

(Source: Mailmodo)

To the question of how much email is spam, September of this year gave a concerning answer: 84.1%. With a total of 105.67 billion emails worldwide, a staggering 88.88 billion were spam.

However, that is not the first instance of spam making such a large portion of email communication. Back in July 2021, when the amount of spam was the highest for the 2020-2021 period, 283 billion out of 336.41 billion emails had spam content. Coincidentally, this recorded the same fraction as September 2022: 84.1%.

What Are The Types Of Spam Emails?

Obviously, spam is not all the same and serves different purposes.

Whether it’s with commercial or malicious and scamming intents, there are different types. Some countries are also bigger spam polluters, and others are bigger spam receivers.

It can come as calls, texts, and emails, but your inbox is the easiest and most common victim of spam.

So, where does spam come from?

What is the purpose of spam emails?

Here’s all you need to know.

6. China is the second biggest spam sender, with 8.53 billion emails as of October 2021.

(Source: Mailmodo)

And the United States, unsurprisingly, took first place with a whopping 8.61 billion emails per day on 18 October 2021.

Spam doesn’t limit itself to certain regions or continents. Instead, it’s so widespread that each continent’s largest country also ranks among the vastest spam senders. Russia, for instance, takes third place (8.09 billion), and then we go across the ocean to Brazil with 8.03 billion emails.

The internet spam statistics include even relatively small European countries like Poland (7.77 billion) and even Bulgaria (7.73 billion), which are a part of the top 10, taking 8th and 9th place, respectively.

(Source: Spam Laws)

More than a third (36%) of the total amount of spam generated has commercial purposes. Given what the first-ever spam message was about, the tradition stays true to itself.

The adult-related category comprises about 31.7%, and spam related to finances, the third most common type of spam, makes up 26.5%

Interesting spam fact: With so many emails having no essential content and only trashing people’s inboxes, a 2005 study finds that 53% of email users have lost confidence in email communication because of spam. However, the figure has dropped from 2004’s 62%, and today it’s perhaps even less, as spam generally reaches our inboxes less than before.

8. 94% of online malware reaches the end-users via email.

(Source: Cleartech Group)

Even though scam and fraud is just a small fraction (only 2.5%) of the total spam, your inbox is the easiest target for harmful messages. That’s why the percentage of malware distributed by email is so large.

Cybercriminals know how vulnerable your email is, and they make good use of it. A whopping 93% of all malware is delivered via email. And 73% of email malware has the goal of identity theft, otherwise known as phishing. Recently, phishing has become so well-crafted that it’s difficult to recognize it sometimes, as hackers use logo duplicates and email spoofing. 

Spam Facts about Companies and Businesses

While companies, small and large, take painstaking measures to use advanced email solutions and spam filters, some entities and sites use spam to their advantage in an attempt to make profits.

On the other hand, some initiatives try to eliminate spam, but they aren’t 100% effective.

Undoubtedly, spam has opened Pandora's box to all kinds of online issues related to safety, security, legality, and ethics.

9. Spam costs companies nearly $70 billion a year.

(Source: Computer World)

Spam is quite multi-layered. On one hand, businesses pay the price because of scams, phishing, and ransomware. It is quite frightening to learn how much money is lost to email scams every year, especially for small businesses. 

24% of the malware incidents involve ransomware which costs sites $84,000 on average to get out of. Essentially, businesses pay the scammers for the sole purpose of getting their data back quickly.

However, companies waste resources on spam and indirectly lose money. According to reports, companies lose $712 per employee because of spam. The typical employee would receive 21 spam messages on average and would spend about 16 seconds on each. Basically, companies pay their employees to deal with spam since they’re not allocating all of their time to actual work.

10. Gmail-associated programs block over 100 million phishing emails.

(Source: Secure List)

The spam statistics are of such a big concern that it’s no surprise that Gmail has activated many preventative anti-virus and anti-phishing programs. For Q3 2022 solely, the Anti-Phishing system detected 103,060,725 malicious emails, and certain countries were under much more severe attacks.

Mongolia, for example, had the largest proportion of email users become targets of phishing, recording 15.54%. France (12.58%) and Brazil (11.86%) completed the top three in that category.

Additionally, the spam trends seem to remain quite predictable, as online stores continue to fall the easiest victims of phishers, with 19.22% of phishing emails being directed towards them. That may be why 52% of companies claim that targeting spam is one of their priorities.

11. Spammers can make up to $7,000 on an average day.

(Source: Neterix)

Of course, that can vary a lot. The amount of money spam can bring is entirely dependent on the number of clicks and responses to junk emails. And it’s not so much, keeping in mind that spammers get only one reply for every 12.5 million emails sent. Other estimations suggest that the success rate is not greater than 0.00001%.

Regardless, making money spamming is a real side hustle for some and an actual job for others. A set of Italian researchers had estimated that Facebook spammers have made $200 million in a year.

Is there any serious monetary gain for the most part? 

Unless you’re engaging in illegal ransomware and malware distribution, it’s quite unlikely. 

Wrap Up

The spam email statistics truly paint a fascinating picture. Spam has taken the world by storm and doesn’t seem likely to weaken its grip anytime soon.

That’s particularly true in countries like the US, where millions of people become easy targets for spammers.

Not only ordinary people but companies, especially small businesses, suffer the biggest consequences of unethical spam crimes like ransomware and phishing. They cost them thousands of dollars to get out of. And billions in wasted resources.

So, yep, the spam statistics might be fun to read, but they also raise a real concern about the extent to which email junk has grown.

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Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.