Increasing Email Usage

By Peter

Although I’ve heard a lot lately about the possibility of email declining due to the increasing use of social media, it seems as though email usage might actually be on the increase. The Radicati Group’s “Email Statistic Report, 2012-2016” estimates that email usage will increase from 3.3 billion email accounts in 2012 to 4.3 billion accounts by the end of 2016, a growth rate of 6% per year.

Email Statistics

This makes sense when you consider the number of new devices being added, and the simplicity of email as an asynchronous communication method.

Like Facebook taking centre stage in the social media world, email is the fall-back method of communication. Pretty much everyone you know has an email account, to the extent that email addresses are often used now as User IDs. So you can safely say “I’ll send you an email”, and you know it’ll be received.

In addition, even though some companies have made efforts to remove email completely, whatever technology they replace it with will still have to deal with unstructured (and possibly unsolicited), communication from outside of the company, meaning they’re just moving the “how do I deal with this” problem to another medium.

In other cases, email users, notably Alan Lepofsky here, have blogged about how they now use their email accounts to collate information from external sources, so that they get everything they need in one place.

Given the scope of email in our lives at present, it’s going to take an awful lot of coordinated effort to replace it with something else!

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  • Frank Paolino

    Email does serve a very useful purpose and it will be complemented by other systems, such as social media and IM systems, to improve and increase our ability to communicate. But there will always be a need for asynchronous communication.

    If I could paraphrase an old quote: “email is the worst possible system for communications except for all others”.

  • Frank Paolino

    Slashdot just made an interesting posting:
    “What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?”

    A lot of discussion, but the same conclusion, email will be with us for a long time.

    • Peter Smith

      Interesting article, thanks. And about a drillion comments, showing how varied peoples use of email really is.

  • Chris Warner

    Email will have a place for quite some time, agreed. However, that email accounts are increasing does mean email usage is increasing. A more accurate picture would probably come from measuring the number of emails sent/received per account per year. I suspect that number is in decline and will continue to decline.

    • Peter

      Good point – it’s true that as the number of competing mediums increases, the % of communication performed by email will probably decrease, but the overall volume of email may increase as it’s usage changes.

  • Nick Halliwell

    i use a Samung Galaxy Tab 10.1 app. This consolidates, facebook, twitter, linkedin, gmail, yahoo mail, sms in to a single place. I have several yahoo and gmail accounts, inc 1 that accts as a mail forward account from Lotus Notes.

    So now i have everything in a single place. I always access this first thing in the morning, where i can see everything that is destined for me. Saves time and effort.

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