More than half of emails worldwide are now read on mobile phones

Phones overtake PCs for email for first time

The rapid rise of mobile phone technology has transformed our world of communications and this, says US email analyst company, Return Path, includes our use of emails.

For the first time more than half of emails sent and received worldwide are through mobile phones, more than either webmail or from the desktop.

Since their last report in 2012 mobile emails have more than doubled in the five years.

This compares to services such as webmail through the likes of Gmail or Yahoo, which fell by more than a quarter. Meanwhile the use of email software such as Outlook or Apple Mail fell 34%.

Another recent study by market research firm, The Radicati Group, estimated that by 2019 the number of email users worldwide will be more than 2.9 billion, fully one-third of the global population.

Yahoo limping badly, Gmail winning

Last year was terrible for Yahoo, after it had to revise its figures of who were affected following a massive data breach in 2013. With three billion accounts exposed it means every account that existed at the time was hacked.

This certainly impacted adversely on Yahoo’s share of webmail.

In just five years they have gone from a share of 37% to just 5% today. Taking full advantage, Gmail’s share went from 6% in 2012 to 59% in 2017.

Get with it

Email use on mobiles is definitely the preserve of the young.

According to email marketing firm Adestra, 40% of 14 to 18-year-olds will always read emails on a mobile phone first, compared to just 8% of 56 to 67-year-olds.

By contrast 55% of 56 to 67-year-olds said they would never read email on their mobile first. This compared to only 18% of 19 to 34-year-olds.

And unlike other forms of communication, consumers have a positive attitude towards email. Experts suggest this is because email gives a user some measure of control but companies seeking to exploit email need to be careful not to abuse by overloading inboxes.

Last year, eMarketer’s email marketing performance benchmark showed that in the US the average user opened fewer and fewer of the emails in their inboxes.

This slow decline in click-open rate makes it obvious that we are reluctant to engage with companies through emails.


A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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