Email marketing is far more likely to be accessed through a mobile device than through a desktop. Source: Shutterstock

More people access email through mobile devices than ever before

MOBILE has changed the game for many industries, but perhaps the most unlikely is the wild world of email, which has been given second life thanks to smartphones and webmail applications such as Gmail.

According to new research by Return Path, as reported by the Internet research house, eMarketer, more than half of all emails in the world are being accessed through mobile devices this year. Return Path found that 55 percent of mail is opened in a portable device, dwarfing both desktop access (16 percent) and webmail (28 percent).

Webmail is access to mail from any device or application as long as there’s a connection to the Internet.

The result is a huge departure from Return Path’s findings from five years ago. In 2012, only 29 percent of email was opened on mobile devices, suggesting that the explosion in communications technology – from software to hardware – has helped lead us into a future where formal communications are becoming increasingly mobile.

The study by Return Path also found that users with Apple iOS were far more likely to be users of mobile email. The majority of mobile email was opened on either an iPhone or iPad this year – covering about 79 percent of the total – while only 20 percent of emails

nextbit robin smartphone

The rise of the smartphone has helped buoy email’s ascendence. Pic: Nextbit

Email, in the age of instant messaging, remains relevant, especially among marketers whose email campaigns are close to the heart of their strategies.

Despite some research from Cheetah Mobile, which measures eMarketer’s email performance benchmarks, the click-to-open rate in North America weakened somewhat in the last year. It dropped to 9.7 percent from 10.9 percent between 2016 and 2017; though those that did open those emails were more likely to complete a transaction.

According to a study conducted by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric 88 percent or more marketers still rely heavily on email to reach their audiences, regardless of industry.

It’s got a penetration rate of 76 percent in the US, which is set to increase to 79 percent in the next four years. That number gets a bit wobbly when it comes to audiences in Asia Pacific, where the majority of populations prefer instant messaging platforms, and social media sites.

So why has email remained so strong? According to eMarketer, many consumers like email because of the bond they feel between a specific brand and themselves. The legal requirements around email have build a strong “opt-in” culture around the communication system, which allows users to feel like they have more control over who can message them and for what purpose.