PORTLAND, OR: Mobile accounted for almost half of all email clicks in the first quarter and by the end of the year could account for as much as a third of all revenue generated through email marketing, a new report claims.

The Q1 2015 Email Marketing Compass benchmarks report from email marketing solutions business Yesmail, found that mobile email revenue grew 12% in the first quarter.

Mobile accounted for 45% of all email clicks – a quarterly increase of 10% – and for 22% of all email-driven revenue.

Yesmail noted that mobile activity typically plateaued or declined slightly after the Q4 holiday season, and said the first-quarter increase indicated a "permanent shift" in consumer behaviour as regards activity and device preference.

"The smartphone has forever shifted the consumer's path to purchase and has become the new normal for consumers; it's not just a seasonal trend anymore," said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing.

The report also revealed that open, click and overall click-to-open (CTO) rates remained largely unchanged during the first quarter despite an 11% drop-off in email volume after the holiday period

At the same time mobile CTO increased 8.5% quarter on quarter while desktop CTO declined 8.6%.

"Marketers are starting to provide customers with a better mobile experience year-round, and the numbers reflect that," Fisher said. "It looks like brands may have turned over a new leaf."

Earlier, Yesmail's report for 2014 showed that mobile click-to-open rates were up to 40% higher for brands using responsive design in their email marketing campaigns.

Over the year, mobile email conversion rates had jumped 70% as marketers continued to adjust their strategies to better cater to customers opening messages on smartphones and tablets.

Data sourced from Yesmail; additional content by Warc staff