AKRON: More than half the emails sent by brands to consumers will soon be opened on a mobile device, a trend requiring a change in thinking on the part of marketers, a study has claimed.

The latest Mobile Email Opens Report from Knotice, the data management provider, covers the second half of 2012 and looked at the rate of email opens occurring on mobile devices in the US. It found that 41% were opened on a smartphone or tablet, compared to 27% a year earlier.

The report argues that this should be should be a warning to brands and marketers on the need to optimise their emails for mobile. It also expects the figure to reach 50% by the end of this year.

Of that 41% of commercial emails opened on a mobile device, 29% were opened on a smartphone and 12% on a tablet. This marked an increase from 21% and 7% respectively from a year earlier.

Emails are most likely to be opened on mobile devices outside of work hours, during the evening or early morning, which has implications for marketers in the timing of distribution.

The report also debunks the myth that people use mobiles to filter emails and revisit some later on their desktop.

"If they open it [email], they want to act on whatever call to action is presented to them at that moment," said the report. "If they don't act right away, our data shows only about 2% will reopen that email on another device,"

In terms of industry categories, consumer services crept over the 50% mark for openings on mobile devices. It was followed by hospitality, on 44%, and cable and telco, on 40%.

Mobile devices using the iOS platform accounted for nearly all the emails opened on tablets and for four fifths of those viewed on smartphones.

Data sourced from Knotice; additional content by Warc staff