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Roughly half of American adults with access to a digital device and who use email continue to use the the first email address they ever had, according to results from a YouGov survey [pdf]. That includes 37% who not only use that address but consider it their main account, per the report. The results show that adults hold onto their email accounts for a long time – or that many have yet to have theirs hacked…

One might expect that youth are more likely to hold onto their first account, but that’s not the case. In fact, almost half (45%) of respondents ages 55 and older still use their first email address as their main account, compared to roughly one-third of younger respondents.

These results are interesting to marketers – even B2B marketers. The value of a personal email address has been demonstrated in recent research, which showed that about half of C-suite executives at enterprise companies use their personal email address when registering to download content. These results suggest that those personal email accounts are likely to remain valid for quite some time – making them particularly valuable to marketers given the high level of churn among target personas.

Overall, roughly three-quarters of the adults surveyed use either 1 (35%) or 2 (38%) personal email accounts.

What Age For First Email Use?

Among 18-34-year-old email users with access to a digital device, 44% report having first started using email some time between the ages of 10 and 15.

Not surprisingly, that figure drops dramatically among older respondents who didn’t grow up with digital. Instead, most (61%) 35-54-year-olds first started using email after the age of 21, as did 95% of respondents ages 55 and older.

1 in 4 Millennials Check Email First in the Morning

Smartphone-owning respondents are more likely to check email (29%) first in the morning than to check their text messages (27%) or Facebook (20%), per the report.

Email is the first port-of-call most often for 35-54-year-olds, one-third of whom check it first. Older smartphone owners (55+) are as likely to check their text messages as their emails (29%).

And while 18-34-year-old smartphone owners are more likely to first check their texts (27%) and Facebook (27%), email is still the first smartphone activity for 1 in 4 respondents of this age.

Inbox Zero?

Roughly 1 in 8 (13%) email users read their emails as soon as they come in, a figure that’s actually slightly higher-than-average among the 18-34 bracket (16%).

About half have up to 20 unread emails in their inbox before they go and read them. Once again 18-34-year-olds are the most frequent email checkers: two-thirds won’t let their unread emails exceed 20 before reading them.

These results indicate that email can still be a powerful tactic for marketers looking to reach youth: in fact, research suggests that youth are the most receptive to daily emails from brands, and that Millennials (18-34) are 63% more likely than their older counterparts to say that promotional emails impact their purchase decisions most or all of the time.

About the Data: The YouGov data is based on a survey of 2,163 US adults (18+) with access to a smartphone, tablet or desktop/laptop computer and who use email.

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