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The Best Christmas Email Subject Lines to Supercharge Your Holiday Campaigns

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Karolina Petraškienė
Content Marketing Manager
Reading Time: 4 minutes

After the Black Friday/Cyber Monday rush, the upcoming holiday campaign season (plus determining the best email subject lines) can raise many questions for retailers. Should you offer a deal again? Maybe introduce a new winter collection? Or will a simple postcard with season’s wishes be enough?

We analyzed 10,000+ campaigns sent to more than 5000 subscribers in English-speaking countries last December (Dec. 3 – Dec 31, 2019), and we have some interesting insights to share as a result.

Keep reading and learn which subject lines, discounts, and offers were the most popular during the holiday period last year. This will help you to better understand what’s going on in your customers’ inboxes – what your competition is offering as well as customer expectations for the upcoming holiday season.

The Most Popular Discounts: Black Friday vs. Christmas Email Subject Lines 2019

During the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period (Nov. 25–Dec. 2, 2019) the percentage sign (%) existed in 33% of all campaign subject lines. In December, campaigns with discounts mentioned appeared in 29% of all campaigns sent. Although the number slightly differs, the fact that close to one-third of email subject lines offer discounts indicates that retailers continue sending holiday deals throughout the entire holiday season, all the way until January.

In the table below, you can see which were the most popular discount amounts mentioned in Christmas email subject lines, as well as a comparison with offers from Black Friday email subject lines.

Most popular discounts% of retailers used in December% of retailers used in BFCM period
5%27%0%
20%13%13.1%
25%12%13.3%
30%9%15.8%
40%7%9.2%
50%10%13.6%

As you can see, holiday email subject lines offered significantly smaller discounts than BFCM subject lines. The most popular discount was 5% off (27% of all deals), followed by 20% (13% of all deals). While BFCM 2019 brought 30%-50% off deal offers.

According to the latest news from Black Friday 2020, coupons with 30% and 50% off were the most popular as well.

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Top 10 Words Used in Christmas Email Subject Lines

After performing a semantic word analysis, we have some more insights to share:

  1. For a few years in a row, the most common words in Christmas subject lines remain “off”, and “sale.” This proves that deal offers continue.
  2. “Christmas” is much more popular than “Holidays”.
  3. When it comes to a “Merry Xmas”, “Merry Christmas”, and “Happy Holidays” comparison, as these three phrases have a similar meaning, none of these three combinations were very popular. “Merry Christmas” was mentioned in less than 2% of all subject lines, while the other two phases appeared in even fewer cases.
  4. Although action words mostly didn’t make it to the top 10, the most popular examples were: “get”, “save”, “don’t miss”.
  5. And although “Shipping” was left down in the #11 position, it also played a significant role in Christmas email subject lines.
Chart of the most popular words used the Christmas subject lines and their frequency
Most popular words used the Christmas subject lines and their frequency
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Top 22 Christmas Email Subject Lines

Subject lineOpen rateIndustry
? Holiday Special48%Food & Beverages
Hydras Back in Stock this Saturday!48%Jewelry & Accessories
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from [Brand] ?46%Computer & Electronics
A note from Santa’s Workshop40%Jewelry & Accessories
Exciting Last Minute Christmas Ideas & Offers!40%Computer & Electronics
? You’ve Got a Present from [brand name]43%Fashion & Apparel
Order Now for Delivery by Christmas!39%Computer & Electronics
?Merry Christmas, Let’s Thank You ?39%Jewelry & Accessories
Today Only! Green Monday ? Apple Sale!37%Computer & Electronics
Gold is for the Holidays! ?37%Jewelry & Accessories
Giving Tuesday – Buy One, Give One35%Fashion & Apparel
Have Your Seen Christmas Gifts Guide?35%Jewelry & Accessories
?Christmas Sale has started plus a few new fabrics & ideas for you34%Fashion & Apparel
Want It by Christmas?34%Jewelry & Accessories
Last-minute delivery34%Toys & Games
Hohoho Wonder What Pens Santa Will Bring ? ? ?33%Jewelry & Accessories
SHOP YOUR SIZE ?33%Fashion & Apparel
LAST DAY FOR INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING! ✈️32%Fashion & Apparel
Last Chance to get your orders before Christmas- Free Domestic Shipping!!32%Jewelry & Accessories
40% OFF Ending at Midnight!31%Fashion & Apparel
Reindeer fly fast. So do these offers!!31%Fashion & Apparel
Sale Starts 11am30%Fashion & Apparel

Still looking for more subject lines? Then you’ll want to get our free ebook: 515 High-Converting Subject Lines.

The key takeaway here is that subject lines which mentioned delivery by Christmas left others in the dust. Customers are interested in last minute offers and urgent delivery. That’s why it might be wise to consider investing in urgent shipping possibilities and clearly communicate that in your subject lines.

Also, it would be wise to use scarcity: “only today”, “ends at midnight”, “last minute”, etc. These power-words helped retailers to generate great open rates.

And don’t forget to share the holiday mood with emojis if they fit your brand identity. These small little icons help subject lines to stand out and convey positive vibes.

Christmas Email Subject Lines: Biggest Takeaways

When crafting your perfect Christmas email subject lines, consider the following:

  • Customers still expect special offers. Many retailers still send them, although smaller ones than during the BFCM period.
  • Urgency matters. Power words like “last minute”, “last chance”, “delivery by Christmas”, “don’t miss” had a big impact on better-performing subject lines.
  • In the top subject lines, the word “Christmas” is more common than “holidays”.

What are your best Christmas email subject lines?

Let us know below!

Boost Your Open Rates!
Analyze and improve your subject lines with our free tester before sending out your next campaign.
Try It Now!
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Karolina Petraškienė

Karolina is a writer, content marketer, and email enthusiast at Omnisend. When she's not curating articles, you can find her in the woods challenging herself in hiking boots or off-roading her bike.