October 4, 2016 Last Updated 12:04 pm

Americans are still completely tied to email, Adobe survey finds

SAN JOSE, Calif. – October 3, 2016 — Adobe today released findings from its second annual email survey, focused on U.S. white collar workers’ habits and behavior related to personal and work email. The report shows that people constantly check their personal and work email, with smartphones overtaking computers as the device consumers use most regularly to check email. Time spent checking email increased 17 percent Year-over-Year (YoY) and people expect email will remain the preferred way of communicating at work in five years. Email in the workplace is becoming less formal and more brief, with expectations of quick responses increasing. Nearly 70 percent check email while watching TV and 45 percent while in the bathroom.

“This survey underpins that email is here to stay in our personal lives and in the workplace. The next generation of workers expect fast responses to email and brevity, mirroring interactions in their personal lives and their shorter attention span,” said Kristin Naragon, director of Email Solutions, Adobe Campaign. “Marketers must adapt their approach to address email behaviors and avoid adding to the noise of the inbox. This means fewer emails and ensuring those sent are mobile-optimized, personalized and contextual to offer the best possible digital experience.”

Additional survey findings from U.S. white collar respondents include:

  • “Always on” email culture in business: Almost one-half of the people surveyed expect a response to email within less than an hour at work. Expectations are dramatically higher with older millennials (25-34): over one-fourth expect email responses within a few minutes. On the weekend, people send 19 work emails and read 29 emails on average. 79 percent admit to checking work email on vacation and nearly one-fourth divulge that they frequently or constantly check email on vacation. Smartphones are the primary device on which millennials check email (90 percent for ages 18-24; 88 percent for ages 25-34).
  • Work email becomes less formal: Nearly 70 percent of respondents say that texting has impacted their work emails, making emails more concise (37 percent) and less formal (20 percent). 42 percent have used an emoji in a work email. The “thumbs up” emoji is most popular (31 percent) at work. One-fourth say their use of emojis in the workplace is increasing. Most respondents prefer email at work versus other communication methods, most often citing its efficiency.
  • Checking email during conversations is acceptable: Less than 10 percent would be annoyed by someone checking or responding to email during a face-to-face conversation with a friend or family member. Pokémon Go players beware – playing a game was cited by more than one-fourth of workers as the most annoying thing someone could do during a conversation. In the workplace, respondents cited the most annoying email behavior as people who “reply all” when it’s unnecessary.
  • People are so addicted to email that they’re detoxing: 45 percent reported attempting a self-imposed email detox, a break from checking email. People that work in technology are most likely to report taking a detox (66 percent versus 39 percent) and 82 percent reported sticking with their planned detox, which lasted an average of 5.3 days. The majority saw a positive impact from their email detox, with 37 percent reporting they felt liberated and 34 percent feeling relaxed.
  • Consumers prefer to receive marketing offers via email: 50 percent prefer to be contacted by brands via email, followed by direct mail at 22 percent and social media at nine percent. Yet respondents find less than one-quarter of email offers interesting enough to open.Consumers report intolerance of waiting for images to load on a smartphone.

Adobe Campaign enables marketers to automate, manage and execute personalized campaigns across email, web, social, display and mobile channels, as well as offline channels including direct mail and point of sale. The Adobe Campaign team will host a TweetChat with email marketing influencers on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Join the discussion on Twitter at #AdobeChat.


Adobe surveyed more than 1,000 white collar workers in the U.S. and more than 3,000 white collar workers in the U.K., France and Germany about their use of personal and work email. The surveys were conducted between July 28 and Aug. 16, 2016. All respondents owned a smartphone.

  • Daniel Scahill 3 weeks ago

    I’m 28… no shot consumers prefer email over direct mail… no chance.