For many business leaders, merely surviving 2022 was a feat to be proud of. It was a year marked by challenging social and economic conditions, many of which deeply affected businesses and forced leaders to adapt, pivot, and innovate.
While initial data from Q1 2023 shows indications that a more impactful, promising year has only just begun, leaders must recognize that the growth challenges they faced in the last decade won’t be the growth challenges they face in the next.
The business landscape itself is quickly changing: Developments in AI will have impacts on everything from marketing and sales to customer service and finances. Staying ahead of the curve and becoming educated on new AI business tools as they arise will help your business stay afloat in an increasingly automated world.
To shed some light on how other businesses performed during the first quarter of a seemingly transformative year, HubSpot aggregated data from 167k+ of its global customers across industries and tracked changes in web traffic, inbound leads, web conversion rates, and more.
The goal? To help business leaders validate their own ideas, draw comparisons, and deepen investments in what’s working while setting thresholds for what’s not.
Read on for insights into the Q1 data and to see how you can use early learnings to prepare for the rest of 2023.
About this data: These insights are based on data aggregated from 167k+ HubSpot customers globally between January 2022 and March 2023. Because the data is aggregated from HubSpot customers’ businesses, please keep in mind that the performance of individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, might differ based on their markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage, and/or other factors.
Q1 Trends at a Glance
As covid restrictions continue to ease, many consumers have returned to their pre-pandemic pastimes, such as traveling and enjoying leisure activities.
And the change in habits is evident in the data: Leisure and hospitality saw upticks in web traffic, leads, and conversion rates.
Another likely factor at play: The market growth of the smart hospitality industry. Worldwide demand for smart hospitality is expected to reach $58.3B by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate of 28.4%.
Smart hospitality uses tech to elevate the customer experience: Hotel rooms can be outfitted with appliances and equipment connected to the internet to allow for a more streamlined, enjoyable stay. It also allows for data collection, which hospitality businesses can use to iterate and improve their offerings.
These upward metrics are representative of larger inter-industry trends: Overall, YoY traffic, leads, and conversion rates are trending up — an indication that businesses’ hard-won efforts through challenging times have paid off.
Though not all metrics in Q1 saw upward trends: Sales email open rates took a sharp dip, down -13.37% overall. This could be due in part to the Crisis of Disconnection and the many ways disconnected data and systems can lead to negative business outcomes.
According to our recent report on this disconnect, sales reps use just 62% of their tech stack, meaning they could be missing out on tools that could help them conduct outreach, do research, and find new prospects, among other things. The report also suggests that if you’re seeing this dip, you’re not alone: Nearly two-thirds of businesses agree that sales engagement is struggling more now than pre-pandemic.
To see how these trends compare to one another, below is an interactive infographic that allows you to toggle between overall QoQ and YoY trends:
Next, we’ll dive into specific areas business leaders should be aware of.
Website Performance Sees Quarterly and Annual Growth
Websites across industries saw a significant traffic increase this quarter, with web traffic up 14.08% overall.
Leisure and hospitality saw the largest growth YoY (30.49%) as well as QoQ (31.01%), along with QoQ growth in construction (31.03%).
An increase in travel plans for the year could be contributing to the growth, as well as a return to home improvements and construction after projects stalled during the pandemic.
The technology, information, and media industry also saw significant increases in web traffic both QoQ and YoY, at 18.19% and 15.07%, respectively.
Inbound Leads Trend Up
Following suit with increased web traffic, inbound leads are up overall with all industries showing QoQ (20.04%) and YoY (7.52%) increases.
The leisure and hospitality industry saw the biggest increase, both QoQ (36.81%) and YoY (45.02%).
Construction and professional and business services also saw sizable growth at 32.42% and 30.67%, respectively.
Two industries saw downward trending inbound leads YoY: construction at -6.28% and trade, transportation, and utilities at -2.08%.
Website Conversion Rates See Modest Growth
Website conversion rates were up slightly across industries, with only construction and trade, transportation, and utilities industries seeing YoY decreases.
Professional and business services led the pack with both QoQ (13.99%) and YoY (17.49%) increases. Leisure and hospitality also saw significant YoY growth at 16.32%.
As for the industries that saw YoY dips in conversion rates — trade, transportation, and utilities was hit the hardest at -14.03%, followed by construction (-5.40%) and financial activities (-3.16%).
More Customers Are Opening Marketing Emails QoQ
In good news for content producers, the open rate for marketing emails was up 11.10% QoQ. This happened with fewer email sends, down -3.94% QoQ.
Email opens for the quarter were also up with a modest increase of 4.89%.
|Metric||QoQ (Compared to q4 2022)||yoy (compared to q1 2022)||Sample size|
|Email open rate||11.10%||0.7%||143,468|
To chase the significant growth of the last year, email teams will need to refocus on cranking up the cadence of sends.
Sales Email Open Rates Trend South
Companies’ sales emails took a significant hit in Q1 with an overall trend of -13.37%. The YoY dip was less severe at only -1.78%, but still down.
The industries that saw the largest YoY decreases in sales email open rates were professional and business services at -15.04%, and technology, information, and media at -14.06%.
While sales email open rates were down overall, some industries prevailed with QoQ increases.
Manufacturing (10.63%), education and health services (10.25%), and professional and business services (6.98%) — despite negative YoY performance — all saw annual growth.
More Service Tickets Opened, Fewer Closed
The number of tickets created was up overall, indicating that more customers were placing demands on service teams this quarter.
Leisure and hospitality saw substantial increases both QoQ at 31.97% and YoY at 128.41%. Construction saw the greatest QoQ increase at 43.27%.
Ticket close rates were slightly down overall, though education and health services was the only industry to see a QoQ decrease of -3.22%.
Construction saw the largest YoY increase at a 14.20% ticket close rate.
Looking Ahead to Q2, Plus Resources
While these Q1 numbers show the beginnings of a promising year across industries, some businesses will need to keep an eye on driving metrics such as traffic, conversions, and open rates in the coming months.
Particularly, sales emails will demand thoughtful strategies and attention to detail in order to turn around a downward trend.
Website traffic and inbound leads seem to be working hand in hand and will hopefully lead to an increase in sales, customers, and ultimately revenue in the year ahead. We have some helpful resources to get you started tackling specific business goals:
Resources to Help: Traffic
- This video on how to build a content machine
- The HubSpot Blog’s 2023 Web Traffic & Analytics Report
- 30 ways to drive traffic to your website
Resources to Help: Conversions
- 26 conversion rate optimization tools for research, feedback, analytics, and more
- What is a CRO test? Plus, 5 steps to perform them yourself
- 8 ways to get started with CRO
- Ecommerce conversion rates across industries (and how to raise yours)
Resources to Help: Open Rates
- The ultimate guide to email newsletters
- Research-backed tips on the best time to send an email
Resources to Help: Sales Emails
- 20 sales email templates with 60% or higher open rates
- 30 sales prospecting email templates guaranteed to start a relationship
- 25 free sales email templates