Martech business Mapp Digital surveyed 1,765 US consumers aged 18 to 64 and evenly distributed by gender and region, 70% of whom had a household income of over $35,000, for its fifth annual Consumer Views of Email Marketing white paper.
Checking email on laptops and PCs was found to be nearly universal, while 72% of respondents said they checked their emails on smartphones; that figure rose to 91% among 18-24 year olds and to 83% among 25-34 year-olds.
"Most marketers are optimizing for mobile in some way, but there still hasn't been a widespread embrace of responsive templates," said Sean Shoffstall, Americas general manager and VP/Marketing at Mapp Digital.
"The survey highlights the mobile-first mindset of millennials, but also indicates the general population is not far behind," he added.
The white paper also revealed that the percentage of 18-34 year-olds using a separate email address for marketing messages decreased from 40% to 30% over the past year – indicating that these consumers may be growing more accepting of email correspondence.
The same group showed a slightly lower rate of subscribing to seven or more brands' emails than older age groups (38% vs. 44% of respondents overall) signifying they might be more focused on engaging with a smaller subset of brands.
"Email marketing is still very relevant to brands, specifically for the hard-to-reach 18-34 year-old audience," said Mike Biwer, CEO, Mapp Digital, arguing that this group was engaging with fewer brands on a more intimate level.
"Millennials and Gen Y are strong audiences for email marketers," he said. "Now, more than ever, the email marketing experience needs to cater to what they want and how they want it."
But checking email is not the same thing as engaging with it: MediaPost observed the paradox of more people checking their phones even as Adobe has reported a 10% drop in the number of people who find branded emails interesting enough to look at.
There could be many reasons for that, including long subject lines and a lack of mobile optimisation, plus the fact that users are increasingly attuned to the ease and simplicity offered by brands such as Amazon and Uber.
Data sourced from Mapp Digital, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff