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Email habits in a multi-screen world

According to a recent report by Return Path, the number of emails opened on mobiles in 2014 appears to have leveled out. Mobile open rates actually declined from the highs of the fourth quarter of 2013, which seems to suggest the devices that people are using is more about the context i.e. their device choices are based on where they are and what they’re doing, rather than having a preference for a particular device.

When looking at the report’s findings on mobile trends, open rates reached a peak of 51% in December 2013 and then dropped to 46% in May 2014. From there, mobile consumption continued to rise steadily throughout the year, reaching 49% in November 2014 compared to 50% in 2013.

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Before you say it, this does not mean that mobile is losing its importance. With the proliferation of tablets, smartphones and hybrid devices, there is now more mobile choice than ever for consumers.

A recent study by Google found that 90% of the time, it takes two devices for people to accomplish a task, but this is still all a matter of context. For example, Cyber Monday was the biggest day of 2014 for email opens on a desktop, while Christmas Day was the the biggest day for emails opened on a mobile device, mainly because people are typically either not working or not at an office location.

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However, when you start to look at global trends, email usage on mobile gets more complex.

Emerging markets like Brazil overwhelmingly check emails in a webmail interface. Germany and France are fairly similar but Germans slightly prefer webmail (39%) and the French sway towards mobile (36%). In the UK, emails are mainly checked on mobile devices (62%).

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iOS continues to be the mobile OS of choice for emails opened on a mobile device, with only Germany seeing Android usage go above 30%. Amazon and Windows continue to struggle to gain any market share, with the Kindle Fire getting a .13% email open rate, while the Windows Phone only achieved .5%.

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These trends look to continue in 2015, but the message to take away from this is that designing emails for mobiles is no longer something you can ignore. People will continue to work and browse across multiple devices, so make sure that you design all of your emails with this in mind.