Thought Leadership

Half of Consumers Read Emails Exclusively on a Mobile Device

The U.S. use their device to access email, which has become the #1 smartphone app.

Fill in the blank…

I check my mobile device every ________________.

A. Three hours

B. Two hours

C. Hour

D. Half an hour


If you’re like more than a third of people, you selected “D.” In a Qualcomm survey, 37% of respondents admitted to checking their mobile device every 30 minutes or fewer. To put this into perspective, it was estimated that more than half the U.S. population (57.3%) would have a smartphone by the end of 2013. You do the math.

Smartphones have become perfect companions to our fast-paced lives and 75% of owners in the U.S. use their device to access email, which has become the #1 smartphone app. What’s more, a recent Yesmail report reveals that we’ve reached the tipping point where more email opens occur on mobile devices than computers: 55% versus 45%. The same analysis finds that in Q4 2013, 50% of consumers opened emails exclusively on a mobile device, a 10% increase over the previous quarter. Even more significant, this marks a 64% jump of mobile-only viewership between June and December.

At the same time, “hybrid” email viewership—as in, reading messages on a mobile device and computer interchangeably—was headed on a downward slope. Hybrid email viewers decreased by nearly 40% between Q3 and Q4, and in only six months, dropped a striking 72%. 

This inverse relationship between mobile-only and hybrid email viewership could be explained by consumers’ increased reliance on their mobile devices, which act as modern-day Swiss army knives -  a single tool that serves multiple functions in everyday life. For instance, smartphones can be used not only for communication, but also planning (through the device’s map, calendar, wallet) and entertainment (via games, music, e-books).  And interestingly, these two latter activities can start and end with email, all while today’s busy consumers are on-the-go.

While many predicted that mobile adoption would reach a saturation point and slow down, the significant increases in mobile-only email viewership tells a different story. As the hybrid email viewer becomes a dying breed and email viewership continues to shift to mobile devices, the onus is on marketers to adapt to this shift in consumer preferences. Brands must adopt mobile-first digital strategies to engage customers at the start with scalable and responsive designed email, all the way to landing pages and checkout.

Author Bio

Linda Vetter

Linda is a tactical demand generation expert with over 10 years of experience implementing strategic lead generation marketing programs. Linda is instrumental in managing the go-to-market programs and extending Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s reach in the marketplace. Most recently, Linda was the Senior Marketing Manager at Experian where she was responsible for generating demand for Experian’s Customer Intelligence Platform via strategic multi-channel marketing programs. Prior to Experian, Linda was the Director of Brand and Field Marketing at Alterian. There, she increased lead generation by 88% by strategically managing go-to-market activities for their lines of business. Linda also grew the leads generated by their monthly webinar series program by 432% globally. With the implementation of an asset deployment strategy, content, such as whitepapers, ebooks, presentations, etc., was repurposed and made more widely accessible via multiple online channels. This was a vital element to the success of Alterian’s inbound marketing strategies, which improved their online footprint and garnered such accomplishments as an 86% increase in blog traffic, 200+% increase in YouTube viewership, 65,000 Slideshare views - which collected 330+ leads.