Upwardly Mobile Email Usage

Published on January 21, 2011
by John Paczkowski

A self-evident, but nonetheless noteworthy, data point with which to begin the day: More of us than ever are checking our email via mobile devices, and we’re doing it more frequently–to the detriment of Web mail usage.

According to comScore, the number of U.S. visitors to Web-based email sites in November 2010 declined six percent compared with the previous year. Email engagement declined even more. Meanwhile, the number of people accessing email from cellphones and the like increased by 36 percent to 70.1 million. And the number who accessed it daily from a mobile device grew 40 percent to 43.5 million. The trend, then, is clear: Mobile email is going mainstream, and fast. Which is great news for companies, such as Apple and Google, that offer standalone mobile email apps, and potentially worrisome for those who don’t.

Not that Web mail is going anywhere. ComScore notes that it remains one of the most popular activities on the Web, reaching about 70 percent of the online population in the States each month. Still, there is a shift occurring. Said Mark Donovan, comScore senior VP of mobile, “In a relatively short period of time, adoption of mobile email has reached 78 percent of the smartphone population, which is very similar to the penetration of Web-based email among Internet users. These findings demonstrate just how quickly channel shifts can occur and why it’s now essential for media brands to have a strong presence in both arenas.”

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