An inbox in your pocket: how we check our email on our smartphones

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In your pocket, on your desk or even on your night stand: in recent years the smartphone has become an inseparable companion. In fact, many of the tools that we used to use on our computers are now found on these devices, which can be taken anywhere.

One of them is email. More and more users open emails, whether personal or corporate, using their smartphones and tablets. That is why Marketing specialists and customer service experts cannot ignore small screens, and have to take them into account when designing their campaigns. But, to what extent do we use our smartphones to check email? We provide you with some figures revealing the rise of mobile mail.

The ascendancy of small screens

A few months ago Gmail surpassed 1 billion active users. Outlook, meanwhile, has more than 400 million active monthly users. In all, according to a recent study by The Radicati Group, there will be more than 3.7 billion email users in the world by the end of 2017.

Mobile phone users are even more numerous: a GSMA Intelligence study states that there are already more than 5 billion people with a mobile phone in the world, accounting for more than two thirds of the total population. According to a study by eMarketer, there are already 2.4 billion smartphone users.

The figures reflect the importance of electronic mail as a communication tool, and smartphones as a device. Now, do we open many emails from our mobiles?

According to the latest email marketing study conducted by IBM, based on messages sent by 750 companies in 40 countries, almost half (49%) of the emails were read on a mobile device, 22% on a computer, and 29% through a webmail service. Among all the countries analysed, the high penetration of mobile mail in the United Kingdom stands out: 55% of emails are read on smartphones there, while in the rest of Europe that percentage is 32%, and, in the United States, 49%. est_2

Adobe recently published a study that reached similar conclusions. After interviewing 1,000 white-collar workers in the United States, the study highlighted that the smartphone is the device most used to check email regularly: 81% use their smartphones to access their virtual mailboxes, 74% use their desktop computer or laptops, 21% use their tablets, and only 2%, their smart watches.  

Unsurprisingly, the report shows that people want to be able to access their email from virtually anywhere (for example, 26% do so in bed), so the use of a mobile device becomes necessary.

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The Adobe study points out that the device chosen to read emails depends on the purpose of the account. Although respondents prefer their smartphones if their mailboxes are personal (59% check this kind of account using their mobiles; 35%, from their computers; and 6%, from their tablets), they still prefer to check work email from a computer (62%, compared to 35% who do so with a smartphone, and 4% with a tablet).

A study conducted by the email marketing company Adestra also drew similar conclusions. In this case, they asked 1,200 personal email users of different generations whether they used a mobile device to check email before reading it on a computer. 40% of respondents between age 14 and 18 always check their accounts on a smartphone, a figure that drops to 29% amongst young people between 19 and 34, and to just 8% for users between 56 and 67.

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Email, one of the most used apps

In addition to demonstrating that many users check their email with their smartphones, some analyses confirm that email is one of the most popular tools on smartphones.

A study conducted last year by Google based on the data of more than 11,000 of its users made it clear that the smartphone is the preferred device: on a normal day, more than a quarter of its users use only their smartphones to surf the Web, almost twice as many as those who use just a computer.  

Also, when we are actively using our phones, we interact with an average of 4.8 apps per hour. Instant messaging apps and search engines are the most used (83% use them), followed by social media (73%) and email apps (71%).

The future of email: increasingly mobile

Mobile devices allow us to open and respond to emails from anywhere. So, as you have seen, more and more are being used to check email. Although, logically, we continue to check it from our computers, marketing and customer service experts have to take into account in their campaigns that a good portion of the emails they send will be received on a device that fits in a pocket.

If you want to know about your habits when using Gmail, either from your computer or from your mobile phone, or you want detailed information on how your company’s employees use e-mail, Gmail Meter can help you. Get Gmail Meter, your Gmail statistics tool.

Obsessed with emails: this is how we are using email in 2017

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A new message from a colleague at the office arrives in your inbox. The Subject line indicates “Urgent”, so you open it quickly, and respond in a few seconds, answering his question. You surely repeat this kind of action a few times over the course of your day, whether to chat with co-workers at the office, or with suppliers and clients. And this is not the only virtual mailbox that you check during the day. In your personal account you also receive promotional offers, confirmations of activity bookings, and data tracking your online purchases.

In recent years email has become an essential communication tool in both the personal and professional spheres. Now, how much time do we spend daily checking our emails? Do we send them at any time, or do we have a fixed schedule?

Adobe has just published a study on email use by 1,000 white-collar workers in the United States. One of the conclusions is that employees spend a great deal of time checking email: 5.4 hours on weekdays.

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The preferred corporate communication channel

The data is surprising, but it actually seems that workers are improving their habits: those 5.4 hours of email use per day are 27% less time than that invested in 2016, according to the previous email usage study carried out by Adobe. Despite this decline, which shows that the use of email is in greater balance with other aspects of life, 73% of respondents acknowledge that they check their mail more often than they should.

However, there is one kind of account that is used more than another: while professional email is used 3.3 hours a day (20% less than the previous year), respondents say they use personal email for 2.1 hours (a 36% drop).  Not surprisingly, according to the study by Adobe, email is workers’ favourite tool at companies: 52% of the participants over age 25 in the study indicate that it is their main corporate communication channel.

Clicking on an email and reading through it is a more frequent action if the message is related to work matters. The participants in the study reported opening 82% of their corporate emails, but only 60% of their personal ones. Of those they open, they read 83% of those related to work, and 64% from family and friends.

The appearance of smartphones, tablets and smartwatches has meant, logically, that computers are no longer the only devices used to send and receive emails. In fact, the smartphone is the device most frequently used to check emails, especially among those under 35 years of age.

Despite this, the truth is that we prefer to answer work messages using a keyboard and looking at a larger screen: 62% of respondents in the Adobe study say that a desktop or laptop is their main device to view their email.

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Young people, the most active group

In addition to using email several hours a day, many of these workers use it during working hours. Despite this, 37% of respondents say they check it while preparing to go to the office, or having breakfast, and 26% report out that they even check their inbox in bed, although that percentage is lower than the previous year. In this regard there are differences depending upon age: the youngest respondents are those who open the most emails while in bed.

Participants in the study ages 18-34 were more likely than those of other age groups to check email in all kinds of situations: watching TV, walking or even in the bathroom.  And the youngest users were those who are most on top of their email: 66% claim to leave their inbox totally clean; that is, answering, delete or filing away all emails, to prevent them from adding up.

Looking at ail while on holiday is also a common practice, although only 17% confess to checking it frequently while on vacation. 32% say they look at it occasionally, and almost a quarter say they forget about professional messages during their time off.

Besides using email very often for personal or professional issues, this tool is also the favourite of consumers for business communications. 61% of respondents prefer to receive offers by email rather than by other means (like SMS or via the social networks), and they prefer that the content of the emails be less promotional and more informative.

Do you want to analyse how you use your email?

The report on the use of email that Adobe has presented makes it clear that email continues to be an essential communication tool, especially at work: throughout the day, we check it on multiple occasions and spend a lot of time sending and receiving messages using it.

Moreover, users themselves believe that we will continue using email for professional purposes in the future: 57% of respondents believe that we will continue to check it as we have thus far for the next two years, and 20% believe that its use will increase.

We are experts in email technology and provide Gmail Meter users insights around their Gmail inbox. Want to know how you use your Gmail?  Try Gmail Meter now.