SAN JOSE, CA: Even though the overall number of hours US consumers spend on email each day has decreased 27% from last year, email is by far their preferred channel on which to receive offers from brands, a new survey has revealed.

Based on responses from more than 1,000 “white collar” workers in the US, tech firm Adobe reported that they still spend 5.4 hours each weekday checking their emails.

Adobe Campaign’s third annual consumer email survey also examined email usage in Europe and the UK, but its findings for the US suggest that consumers there are beginning to strike a new “life-email balance” in the words of Kristin Naragon, Adobe’s Director of Email Solutions.

In a blogpost published to highlight some of the key findings from the 46-page report, she said: “Our love affair with email is still as strong as ever, but these days we’re finding a bit more balance with it.”

She revealed that the average number of hours people spend checking their personal emails declined 36% over the past year to 2.1 hours, while the number of hours spent checking work emails fell 20% year-on-year to 3.3 hours.

Marketers who aim to reach their target audiences at specific times will also want to know that Adobe noted a 28% decrease in the proportion of consumers who check their emails first thing in the morning – although a quarter (26%) still do.

What’s more, around a quarter of consumers wait until they get into the office before looking at their inbox, while a fifth (20%) never check email outside of work hours, and nearly half hardly ever check their email when on holiday.

However, despite spending less time than they used to on email, consumers are still clear that they prefer email when it comes to offers from brands.

A full 61% prefer email for this purpose, up 24% since last year, compared to direct mail (18%), a brand’s mobile app (6%), social media channels (5%), text message or SMS (5%), phone calls (4%) and chatbots (1%).

And they know what they want in those messages, too. A third (34%) of consumers say they get frustrated when brands recommend items that don’t match their interests, while 40% wish email content was less promotional and more informative.

In addition, a fifth (21%) of consumers who check messages on mobile devices are annoyed about brands’ lack of mobile optimisation, while half say the most annoying thing about emails from brands is when they arrive too often.

Data sourced from Adobe; additional content by WARC staff