Typical Survey Response Rates

What is the Typical Response Rate for a Survey?

Response rates vary widely depending on a number of factors. For online surveys in which there is no prior relationship with recipients, response rates can be as high as 20% to 30%.


Factors that can affect the response rate include:

  • The target population -- Are you are trying to obtain responses from a hard-to-reach population (e.g., males age 18 to 24 who play video games)?
  • Your relationship with the survey respondents—Are the potential respondents customers or employees?
  • The survey invitation—Can you personalize the email invitation to include the potential respondents' names? How much can you divulge about the nature of the research?
  • The survey length—Will your survey take 5 minutes of respondents' time or 15 minutes?
  • The complexity of the survey questions—Will you be asking respondents to simply answer straight-forward questions or will you ask them to visit a Web site and then provide their impressions?
  • The survey topic—Will your potential respondents have a vested interest in the topic (e.g., improving employee benefits)?
  • Incentives—Will you motivate potential respondents to take your survey with some form of financial compensation, material goods, or information?
  • Reminder emails—Will you be able to send a reminder to respondents who haven't completed the survey?

Customers include ...