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Mobile Email Use Jumps 40% Thanks To Smartphones

Data compiled by comScore shows that mobile email use jumped significantly, while webmail use declined throughout 2010.

Data compiled by comScore shows that mobile email use jumped significantly, while webmail use declined throughout 2010.Comparing data between November 2009 and November 2010 shows that use of webmail declined by about 6% year-over-year. comScore says that in November 2009, 162.9 million unique users visited webmail services -- that includes in home, work, and university environments. By November 2010, that number had dropped to 153.4 million. Not a precipitous drop, but clearly showing a downward trend.

At the same time, monthly mobile email use surged by 36% (51.6 million to 70.1 million), and daily mobile email use surged 40% (31.1 million to 43.4 million). comScore attributes the adoption of smartphones by a wider consumer base as the reason behind this change.

Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile, said, "What we have seen in the smartphone era is the rapid acceleration of data consumption, which has helped drive mobile usage across multiple categories including email. In a relatively short period of time, adoption of mobile email has reached 78 percent of the smartphone population, which is very similar to the penetration of web-based email among Internet users. These findings demonstrate just how quickly channel shifts can occur and why it's now essential for media brands to have a strong presence in both arenas."

comScore doesn't break down what percentage of mobile email is read by which smartphone platforms, and that's unfortunate. That would be some excellent data to see. Given the sales trends in the U.S. for the past year -- strong Android and iPhone growth at BlackBerry's expense -- i'ts not unreasonable to peg the bulk of mobile email's gains on Google's and Apple's products.

Unsurprisingly, younger users are more likely to access email via a mobile device. comScore notes that those aged 25-34 were 60% more likely to read their email on a mobile device, and those aged 18-24 were 46% more likely.

Conversely, younger users were the most likely to abandon webmail. Users aged 12 - 17 accessed webmail 24% less in 2010 when compared to 2009. Given teens' propensity for texting one another, a drop in email use is understandable.

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