It's official: mobile has now taken over e-mail

Steven Loeb · January 22, 2014 · Short URL:

65% of all e-mails now read via a mobile device, with nearly half opened on a smartphone

When I talk to people who still own so-called "dumb phones," a.k.a. those without Internet connection and/or e-mail capabilities, the argument they often make for not switching is that they simply do not want to be reachable via e-mail 24/7.

They think that, if you have e-mail on your phone, it will become a way to reach them anywhere, at any time of day, with the expectation that they will be there to answer. (Isn't that kind of what a cell phone already does, though?)

So, basically, if your boss is a crazy person and sends you a slew of e-mails at 8 PM on a Saturday night, the expectation will be that you will have seen, and will reply, swiftly, even if they are no longer on work hours. 

Now a new study from Movable Ink shows that maybe those people are onto something.

In its US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q4 2013 study, released on Wednesday, the company found the vast majority of e-mails are now being read via a mobile device.

A full 65% of e-mails were opened on either a smartphone or tablet device, up from 61% in Q3 2013. Nearly half of all e-mails, 48.23%, were read on a smartphone, compared to 16.52% on a tablet. 

Desktop accounted for just 35% of email opens, a decline from 39% in the previous quarter.

While tablets still lag behind, they are continuing to see growth. The percentage of e-mails read has ticked up by 1% each of the last two quarters. 

When broken down by device, the iPhone lead the way with 35.39%, followed by 14.54% on an iPad and 12.47% on Android phones. Android tablets accounted for 1.88%.

If you're doing the math, that gave Apple 49.93% of all e-mails, compared to 14.33% for Android. Still that is a significant improvement for Android, which saw only 10% in the previous quarter. 

So, if you are sending an email, it is more likely to be opened by an Apple user, and they are likely to spend more time reading it as well. Whereas 38% percent of iPhone users spent 15 seconds or more viewing each message, only 35% percent Android smartphone owners did the same.

And, for the first time ever, not a single state read more e-mails on a desktop computer than on a mobile device.

It looks like the mobile takeover is nearly complete, and at least one group of people are probably popping champagne corks all over place right now: e-mail marketers. If I were you, I'd be ready to expect to see a lot more promotions and socilitations in my e-mail in the near future.

The data for the study was collected through Movable Ink’s Agile Email Marketing platform between October 1 – December 31, 2013.

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