Smartphone User Behavior Calls for Mobile Email Strategy Shift

July 13, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Household Income | Out-of-Home | Youth & Gen X

Despite widespread assumptions about mobile email users, today’s rapidly evolving mobile user base rarely reads or acts on commercial emails via mobile devices, according to a new ExactTarget study of the current state of mobile email usage.

Instead, 88% of users routinely review emails on a laptop or desktop after first checking via smartphones, according to the study. And, in general, users use mobile email differently from email on laptops and desktops.


ExactTarget surveyed more than 4,000 mobile phone owners; among its findings:

  • Mobile email users tend to be 18-44 years old, self-employed or employed full time, affluent and highly educated.
  • Some 72% of mobile email users have an annual household income of $100,000 or more, though the decreasing cost of smartphones and the launch of new devices like the iPhone have begun to attract less-affluent groups.


  • Smartphone users mainly employ mobile email to stay connected and read urgent messages, and rarely commercial emails, because of limited functionality and rendering capabilities.
  • Mobile email users typically do not click on links within emails – only 54% have ever clicked on a link from their mobile device. Nor do they make online purchases via smartphones.
  • Developing messages especially for mobile email is unnecessary, as text renders 50-60% of the time when multi-part email is viewed on a mobile device.
  • The most successful text-only design for mobile and computer email viewing includes a brief introduction – and a link to view the message as a webpage, according to ExactTarget’s findings; that also allows users to view the HTML version when they view it on their computer.

The full report is available from ExactTarget.

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