We recently released our latest mobile email study showing that mobile devices, specifically smartphones and tablets, are now the primary way we open emails. While looking at the data, there were some things that stood out.
1. iPhone users were quick to adopt iOS 6.
iPhone users adopted iOS 6 in less than a month and iOS 6 represents 66% of all iOS devices we saw people opening email on. Google’s Android users have adopted newer operating systems at a much slower pace. Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich was released in October of 2011 and only powers 27.5% of all Android devices. Gingerbread, released in 2010, is used on 56% of all Android devices.
One notable change to email in iOS 6 is VIP Mail which allows users to set specific email addresses as VIP. This feature immediately notifies the user when an email is received from a VIP contact, helping people unchain themselves from constantly checking their inbox (presumably because they are afraid of missing something important). Another fun fact from our friends at Marketing Sherpa: people check their phones 150 times a day and I would bet they nearly always check their inbox each time.
2. People opening email on the iPod Touch has been declining steadily the past year.
Email Opens on iPod Touch, Oct. 2011 – Oct. 2012
While the overall number of opens on the iPod Touch was very low compared to the iPhone or iPad, the open rate for this mobile device has been trending downward for the past year. I always wondered if people were using the iPod Touch as an iPhone without the Phone, like check email, use apps, etc., but it may seem like they’re using it to just listen to music, or perhaps they have an iPad for that. Whatever it is, they’re not using it to open emails, and I predict the iPad Mini will likely further erode consumption of email on the iPod Touch.
3. Apple iOS 7 spotting?
When looking at email opens, we saw iOS 6 being used to open emails in June 2012, and it was released on September 19th. We saw a handful of opens coming from iOS 7 in October. While it could just be a miscategorization, it’s something I’ll keep an eye on in the coming months.
4. A holdout for iPad Mini
When looking at all of opens for iOS devices, the iPad has been seeing an ever increasing share of all email opens until October where it saw it’s first decline. Partly this is because of more people adopting the iPhone 5, and partly because the anticipated iPad Mini was coming out at the end of October. It will be interesting to see how iPad usage grows after the launch and the holidays. My prediction is that the iPad and iPad Mini will take turn course and continue it’s climb upward of total iOS email opens.
Total Email Open Shares – iPad and iPhone
5. And the only mobile OS where email open volumes declined is…
When looking at how email open shares have changed, while opens on an iPhone grew year over year, they made up less of the mobile open shares. WebOS saw the biggest drop, followed by RIM. As mentioned in the infographic, Windows saw the biggest increase (85%), but still makes up a tiny portion of all mobile opens at only 0.3%. Other mobile operating systems continued to decline as more people flock to Android phones and tablets, as well as iPads.
But to answer which OS saw the only decline in volume, regardless of relation to other devices, that goes to WebOS. It will be interesting to see how HP's strategy of turning this into an open source operating system plays out in 2013. But clearly since they aren't making specific hardware for it, it's being used less and less.
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By Tom Sather
Sr. Director, Email Research