Mobile Dominates Email Engagement, Study Says

Only two industries remain desktop dominant in email opens, according to SendGrid's Global Email Benchmark report released Wednesday, compared to eight industries one year ago. 

The government and insurance industries are the sole remaining industries where the majority of emails are opened on a desktop, according to SendGrid’s annual benchmark report.

SendGrid compiled data from nearly 50 billion emails sent to almost 2 billion different email addresses, from more than 100,000 different senders who used the company’s cloud-based customer communications platform. The company counts AirBnB, Pandora, Hubpot and Spotify on its client roster, and claims that most Internet users in the world are represented in their annual report in some form in one or more aggregate statistics.

Mobile device usage increased year-over-year in every one of the 25 industries presented in the study, except for the insurance industry, where mobile device usage actually decreased from 50% to 48% year-over-year.



Phillip Merrick, CEO at SparkPost, says that mobile rendering and A/B testing are critical in email marketing with such a high and growing prevalence of mobile opens.

“Mobile rendering is clearly important, given that people are most likely to view an email on a mobile device first,” he says. “However, people often return to important emails on their desktop to take an action, such as making a purchase or completing a form. Therefore messages need to be structured to render optimally on both mobile and desktops.”

Government emails are still most commonly read on a desktop computer, but mobile usage did increase from 36% to 47% year-over-year, according to SendGrid.

Merrick believes the paperwork might be the cause behind the government and insurance industries lag in mobile opens.

“We see that when the user needs to do substantial work to process or respond to an email — such as completing lengthy forms — they find it easier to go back to their desktop,” says Merrick. “Interacting with government agencies and insurance companies definitely means working with a lot of forms and other paperwork.”

On average, just over 30% of emails are opened, according to SendGrid’s aggregate of email engagement statistics across the 25 self-selected industries. This is an increase year-over-year from the 27.3% of emails opened in 2016. 

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