Email – Friend or Foe?


Email has been with us now for since the early 1980s (although you can track some forms of electronic message exchange back to the 1960s) and has become an intrinsic part of our life. Indeed where would we be without it? As Internet Marketers it is the lifeblood and the primary vehicle for driving traffic to squeeze pages and blogs. However, it is a tool that is massively misused and, as a result, means that we get inundated with lots of emails and consequently waste lots of time trying to identify the important from the spam. I know that personally managing my email accounts has been a major challenge which I have only recently started to get on top of.

So in this article I thought I would provide some of those statistics that give you idea of the giant that email has become.

Interesting Facts

In my research I came across many statistics relating to the use of email. I have included some of the more interesting ones here.

  • If email was a country, its 1.4 billion users would make it the largest in the world. Bigger than China, bigger than the populations of the USA and European Union combined.
  • 247 billion emails are sent each day. That’s one every 0.00000035 seconds.
  • In the time it takes you to read this sentence, some 20 million emails entered cyberspace.
  • Every second, the world’s email users produce messages equivalent in size to over 16,000 copies of the Complete Works of Shakespeare (assuming a 30KB average email size).
  • 21% of email recipients report email as Spam, even if they know it isn’t
  • 43% of email recipients click the Spam button based on the email “from” name or email address
  • 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based solely on the subject line
  • 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone
  • Email lists with 10% or more unknown users get only 44% of their email delivered by ISPs
  • 30% of subscribers change email addresses annually
  • 84% of people 18-34 use an email preview pane
  • People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people that do not receive email offers
  • 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email
  • Subscribers below age 25 prefer SMS to email
  • 35% of business professionals check email on a mobile device
  • 80% of social network members have received unsolicited email or invites

I think you will agree that there are some important nuggets amongst that information and worthy of an article in their own right e.g. open rates.

One of the other interesting areas is the clients that we use to access email. As you would expect there are quite a number. This is the status as of June 2011:

27.62% — Outlook

16.01% — iOS Devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch)

12.14% — Hotmail

11.13% — Apple Mail

9.54% — Yahoo! Mail

7.02% — Gmail

1.84% — Windows Mail

1.70% — Android

1.25% — AOL

1.21% — Thunderbird

What is very revealing is the growth rate of some clients and also the fall from grace of clients such as Yahoo:

Client                          Up/Down

iOS Devices 84.23%

Gmail 22.29%

Apple Mail 14.97%

Thunderbird 10.00%

Lotus Notes -84.73%

Entourage -75.00%

AOL -36.86%

Yahoo! Mail -32.53%

Personally I use Windows Live Mail to manage all my email accounts and find that it provides enough functionality to meet my needs.

I hope this has provided an interesting perspective on how important email has become in our daily lives. Whilst it is constantly changing and evolving it is likely to be with us for some time to come.

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