"Email usage is growing despite challenges from market substitutes like instant messaging and virtual workspaces that require a change in the way people work, and often fall short of matching email's ease of use and global reach," said Robert Mahowald, senior analyst for IDC's Collaborative Computing program. According to IDC, the number of worldwide email mailboxes is expected to increase at a 138% growth rate, from 505 million in 2000 to 1.2 billion in 2005.

According to IDC, the number of person-to-person emails sent on an average day is expected to exceed 36 billion worldwide in 2005. The growing effect of the Web on email is evident in widening usage of Web browsers as the primary method for accessing email - expected to surpass 50% for all email mailboxes worldwide in 2003.

And Mark Levitt, research director for IDC's Collaborative Computing program, said "Wireless access through email devices and network services will offer new ways for email users to remain connected longer while on the move."

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