Majority of Emails Now Opened on Mobile Devices

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More emails are now read on mobile devices than on portable or desktop personal computers, or any other forms of computing devices, according to a mobile email survey from Return Path.

The number of emails opened using mobile devices has nearly doubled over the past five years. Today, mobile devices are used to open more than half of all emails, Return Path, an email solutions provider, highlights in a news release.

Analyzing data gathered from May 2016 to April 2017, Return Path found that mobile devices were used to open 55% of all emails. That’s up from 29 percent from the results obtained in a similar study conducted in 2012.

Opening Webmail – emails opened via a browser-based Internet email service, such as Gmail or – dropped 26% during the five-year period. Desktop email – email opened using software installed on a desktop or laptop computer, such as Outlook or Apple Mail – was used to open just 16%. That’s down from 34% in 2012.

Mobile Email Survey

Turning to operating systems (OS) platforms, Apple iOS continued to dominate the email space over the past five years. Though opening email via iOS devices has declined slightly, Apple’s mobile OS platform devices combined accounted for 79% of mobile email opens.

That compares to 20% for all Android mobile devices combined. Just 14% of mobile emails were opened using Android devices back in 2012. Eighty-five percent were opened using iOS devices, according to Return Path. In addition, according to Return Path:

  • Gmail has overtaken Yahoo in the Webmail race. Webmail still holds a significant percentage of email opens, and Gmail has emerged as the clear leader in the webmail space. In 2012, just six percent of webmail opens occurred on Gmail; that figure jumped to 59 percent during the period analyzed. Yahoo has experienced a precipitous decline over the same period, accounting for just 5 percent of webmail opens during the study period—down from 37 percent in 2012.
  • Mobile opens peak on the weekend; webmail and desktop gain during the workweek. Not surprisingly, the greatest percentage of mobile email opens occur on the weekend—60 percent on both Saturday and Sunday, compared to a range of 51 to 55 percent Monday through Friday. Accordingly, both webmail and desktop opens increase during the workweek, when people tend to be in front of their computers. Webmail opens hold steady at 26 percent on the weekend and about 29 percent during the week, while desktop accounts for just 13 percent of opens on the weekend and 16 to 19 percent during the week.

“In just five years, we’ve seen dramatic shifts in the email space—and there’s no doubt that more changes are coming,” said Tom Sather, Return Path’s senior director of research. “Marketers need to understand both the current state of the email ecosystem and how it’s likely to evolve in the future. Knowing how, when, and where your emails are being opened—and how those things have changed over time—can help to inform critical decisions about the direction of your email program.”

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