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Email Opens on Mobile Devices Close to Tipping Point

by Vahe Habeshian  |  
April 11, 2013

Commercial emails opened on mobile devices are on pace to surpass PC opens by the end of 2013, according to recent research from data and digital messaging solutions provider Knotice.

Its Mobile Email Opens Report: 2nd Half 2012 (PDF) finds that as of yearend 2012, 41% of commercial emails were opened on mobile devices (smartphone or tablet).

That's up from 36% in the first half of 2012, and 27% a year earlier (at yearend 2011).

The Hospitality and Consumer Services industries have the highest mobile email open rates (44.2% and 50.3%, respectively), while B2B and Healthcare have the lowest mobile email open rates (17.3% and 19.1%, respectively).

Below, additional findings from Mobile Email Opens Report: 2nd Half of 2012

iOS Dominance

The iPhone and iPad accounted for 33.0% of all email opens in the last half of 2012, up from 29.3% in 1H12. Android phones or tablets accounted for 6.6% of all opens occurring on Android phones or tablets in 2H12.

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Vahe Habeshian is the director of publications at MarketingProfs and a long-time editor. Reach him via

Twitter: @habesh

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  • by Jaime Thu Apr 11, 2013 via web

    Very interesting numbers and the mobile opens surpassing desktop was a great research. The other part is a bit confusing, especially when focusing on retail. But after I questioned the open rate, then I realize I was thinking it wrong. I thought it was the numbers for how those companies do with their clients (e.g. retailers get 76.51% of their customers to open their emails). But I think now it's between employees of a company. Kind of interesting.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Thu Apr 11, 2013 via web

    Hi, Jaime. Actually, the opens do refer to emails sent to customers (not employees); for example, in the case of retail emails, 76.5% of opened emails (note: not sent emails) were opened only on desktops, 14.5% of opened emails were opened only on smartphones, and so on.

  • by James Thu Apr 11, 2013 via web

    It sounds like the push to optimize my monthly email to phone viewing might be a little behind the curve with desktop viewing still the majority and tablets picking up click share. I wonder if there should be a distinction made between "mobile" and "Tablet". My mobile site looks great on a phone but it seems the desktop site would be more appropriate on a table.

  • by Mike Spanjar Fri Apr 26, 2013 via web


    Over the past couple of days, I polled co-workers and Facebook friends on whether or not they open emails on their Androids or iPhones. My sample is statistically insignificant compared to the Knotice study. But despite that, I think the results at least present a more expected result.

    Of the 32 people who responded, ALL indicated they check email on their devices. Of those respondents, 19 were iPhone users and 13 were Android users. I work in a marketing agency, so naturally, the Apple contingent is larger. No respondents answered "no" to the question of whether they open emails on their devices. And naturally – most smartphone owners bought these devices for a reason.

    Now, the Knotice study looks at email opens on smartphones/tablets -- as opposed to other platforms, such as desktops. So I see how my findings don't directly correlate. I had to rely on human responses, and to ask what percentage of their emails these users open on their phones and tablets versus their desktops would yield guesses.

    The Knotice numbers suggest that iOS users are five times more likely than Android users to open their email on their mobile devices than elsewhere. My small bit of research shows that "everyone with a smartphone" checks their mail on their devices daily. So the takeaway, if we set aside the obvious triviality of my respondent count, would be that Android users check their email, say, once or twice per day compared to iOS users checking their emails five to 10 times per day.

    Are iOS devotees somehow predisposed to be more interested in reading email on their devices? Do they simply receive five times more email than Android users? Probably not. And with more Androids in the wild than iPhones, the odds are against the Knotice findings.

    So why do I care? As a marketer, I am frightened by the implications flawed data can have on consumer behavior. As a rational human, I have to question the unexplainable.

    I'll let you take it from here.

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