With the growth of smartphones and other internet-connected mobile devices, mobile email usage is also experiencing a growth spurt. Due to the rise in mobile email viewership, both webmail and desktop email are experiencing declines in share.
Mobile is not expected to replace webmail or desktop email anytime soon, though. According to email certification and reputation monitoring company Return Path, webmail is still the most popular form of email use around the world, representing 44% of all message views, followed by desktop with 33%. Mobile comes in third, with 23% of all email views occurring on mobile devices.
Return Path’s report, which analyzed email data from April 2011 to September 2011, indicates mobile email views were up 34% from the last study the company conducted from October 2010 through March 2011. Meanwhile, webmail decreased 11% and desktop email decreased 9.5%. iPad usage is largely responsible for mobile email growth. Return Path data indicates that use of iPads rose 73% during the April–September time period.
Time of day and day of week have a strong influence on where consumers view their email. Desktop usage accounts for the majority of email views during weekdays, whereas mobile emailing spikes on weekends. According to Return Path, Monday is a particularly weak day for mobile usage.
Where email is viewed is also slightly dependent on vertical industry. Email users were quicker to read entertainment, social networking and publishing emails on mobile devices, while saving messages from software firms for desktop or webmail viewing.
Research from Litmus, a small software company based in Cambridge, Mass., indicates that email access via mobile device, for the most part, has climbed since July 2010. Despite dips in November 2010 and January 2011, mobile device email usage is expanding, while webmail is in slight decline. The spikes in mobile email correspond with summer months in which consumers may be checking in on email while vacationing or spending time out of the office.
Both Litmus and Return Path research suggest that users are accessing email wherever they happen to be. Email is likely to continue to grow on more platforms, as more and more consumers embrace connected devices.