Report: Mobile e-mail rises; Web e-mail dips

The number of people using Web-based e-mail fell 6 percent in November from a year earlier, while the number of folks tapping into mobile e-mail grew 36 percent.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Mobile e-mail is growing in popularity while the use of Web-based e-mail seems to be waning, according to a new study from ComScore.

Looking back at November, ComScore found that the number of people sending e-mail via a dedicated client on a mobile device was up 36 percent from the prior November. Over the same period, the number of visitors to Web-based e-mail sites fell by 6 percent.


Even further, those who visited Web-based e-mail sites spent less time doing so. The amount of time spent at such sites dropped 9 percent in November year over year, while the number of total pages viewed fell 15 percent.

For the mobile e-mail figures, ComScore is counting people who use a dedicated e-mail client on a mobile device as well as those who just sync mail from Gmail or another online account to their phones. Those numbers also include users who access Webmail accounts from a mobile device. For the Web-based mail stats, ComScore is referring specifically to users who access Webmail through a PC.

"From PCs to mobile devices, whether it's e-mail, social media, IM, or texting, consumers have many ways to communicate and can do so at any time and in any place," Mark Donovan, ComScore senior vice president of mobile, said yesterday in a statement. "The decline in Web-based e-mail is a byproduct of these shifting dynamics and the increasing availability of on-demand communication options."

Despite the move toward mobile, e-mail is still one of the most popular activities on the Web, with more than 70 percent of online users accessing their messages via the Web each month. For November, ComScore reported that 153 million people checked their Web-based e-mail accounts. That compares with 70.1 million mobile users--30 percent of all mobile subscribers--who accessed e-mail through their mobile devices.


Still, the rise in mobile e-mail usage is significant. ComScore found that 43.5 million people used their mobile phones for e-mail on a daily basis in November, a jump of 40 percent from the prior year.

The disparity between mobile and Web was even greater among the younger crowd.

People ages 25 to 34 were 60 percent more likely to check mobile e-mail than the average mobile subscriber, while those 18 to 24 were 46 percent more likely. In contrast, the use of Web-based e-mail fell 24 percent among those 12 to 17, while the total amount of time spent checking their Web e-mail dropped 48 percent.

ComScore based its results for this study on data from its Media Metrix and MobiLens services.