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ReturnPath-Email-Open-Share-in-Dec-2013-Jan2014Various research sources last year (such as this one and this one) pegged the share of email opens occurring on mobile at 50% or above – and Return Path is the latest to join the list. New data from the researcher indicates that 51% of email opens occurred on a mobile device during December 2013, the first time Return Path has seen mobile crossing the majority threshold. Christmas Day saw the highest share of email opens (62%) for the period; perhaps not too coincidentally, IBM recently reported that mobile accounted for a remarkable 48% of online shopping traffic that day.

IBM also noted that iOS devices drove more than twice as much shopping traffic as Android devices on Christmas Day (32.6% vs. 14.8%), and the Return Path data shows that the OS mismatch was even more glaring on the email front. On Christmas Day, Return Path’s data indicates that fully 86% of mobile email opens occurred on an iPhone (58%) or iPad (28%). (Movable Ink has also noted a significant imbalance between email opens on iOS and Android devices.)

Other Findings:

  • In terms of overall volume, Return Path says that Cyber Monday saw the most number of email opens (not just on mobile), with the prior day garnering the next-highest total.
  • By contrast, Christmas Day and December 29th had the lowest number of opens. Presumably, the results relate to the number of emails sent by retailers on Cyber Monday versus Christmas Day.
  • Not surprisingly, the number of emails opened on mobile devices tended to increase on weekends and holidays, while desktop opens were highest on Mondays.
  • Among ISPs and email service providers in the US, Gmail had the biggest rise in opens during December, which Return Path attributes to its recent changes enabling images by default. Analyses of the Gmail changes can be found here and here.

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