People Are Spending Less Time Reading Emails

October 29, 2021
Litmus Average Time Spent Reading Brand Email Oct2021

Email has been a tried-and-true channel for marketers for many years, and even with the turmoil caused by events in 2020, marketers have remained confident about its effectiveness. However, at a time when brands are sending out more emails, a report [download page] from Litmus indicates that the time consumers spend reading brand emails has dipped.

In its analysis of almost 8 billion email opens, all of which were anonymously collected and aggregated with Litmus Email Analytics, the report indicates that recipients are spending less time reading brand emails than they have in the past. In 2018, people spent an average of 13.4 seconds reading a brand email, a figure which has now shrunk to an average of 10 seconds in 2021 (data covering January 1-August 31). That is also 15% less time than they spent reading an email in 2020 (11.8 seconds).

People are spending even less time reading email on their mobile devices. Third-quarter data (July and August only) finds consumers spending an average of 9.6 seconds reading an email via mobile. This is a 23.8% decrease over the same quarter in 2020, when consumers spent 12.6 seconds on average reading an email on mobile devices.

Consumers continue to show a preference for opening email on mobile devices, although that might be changing a little as some return to the office. In Q3, 42.4% of the emails analyzed were opened on mobile, down from 46.2% opened on mobile in Q2.

Right on the heels of mobile, webmail accounted for 41.2% of emails opened in Q3. Gmail is the top webmail client, accounting for 85.8% of webmail email opens analyzed during the quarter.

Only a 16.4% share of emails were opened on desktop in Q3, with most of those being opened on Apple Mail (macOS Mail; 61.7% share). Microsoft’s Outlook remains fairly popular, as well, accounting for a 37.3% share of emails opened in Q3.

Finally, brands might want to consider sending emails in the morning. Litmus found that, in the US, about one-fifth (21.2%) of emails are read between 9AM and 12PM. Meanwhile, earlier global benchmark data from Campaign Monitor indicates that email open rates are highest on Fridays.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Data for 2021 is based on an analysis of almost 8 million email opens, anonymously collected and aggregated with Litmus Email Analytics.


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