Research

Email Usage Statistics: Latest Reports and Data

Cai EllisRoberta Phillips

By Cai & Roberta

Email usage statistics

The use of email has grown rapidly over the last few decades, with an email address being an essential tool in both our personal and professional lives. But just how much has the use of email changed, and how are most of us using emails on a day-to-day basis? Has social media eaten into what used to be time spent on emails in recent years?

The number of email users worldwide is expected to continue growing at a rate of 3% each year according to technology market research firm, Radicati, suggesting that emails are here to stay when it comes to business and personal communications.

We’ve gathered some of the most interesting statistics about email usage today and how our use of emails has changed over time, alongside insights from our own studies.

Key statistics

  • There are 4.48 billion email users worldwide in 2024, meaning 56.8% of the total world population uses email. This is expected to grow to over 4.85 billion by 2027.
  • In 1997, there were just 10 million email users in the world, making up 0.17% of the total population at the time.
  • On average, an email user receives 80.6 emails per day, with 49% of these expected to be spam.
  • 58% of email users check their emails first thing in the morning before looking at social media or anything else online.
  • Employees spend an average of 11 hours per week managing and organizing emails, that’s roughly 2,970 working days across a 45-year career.
  • Two-thirds (61%) of people mainly check their emails on a mobile device.
  • Each day, the amount of CO2 released by text emails is equal to the amount produced by an estimated 23,500 gas-powered cars.
  • The average email user has 1.86 email accounts, meaning there are approximately 8.3 billion email accounts worldwide.
  • The most used email clients globally are Apple (55.64%) and Gmail (31.16%) as of February 2024.
  • The majority of emails (85%) are read on smartphones but answered on a computer.
  • 2021 saw a record number of 1,862 email data breaches recorded in the U.S., breaking the previous record of 1,506 from 2017.

How many people currently use email

There are an estimated 4.48 billion email users worldwide as of 2024, making up more than half (56.8%) of the world population. This number is expected to grow to over 4.85 billion by the end of 2027.

The average person has 1.86 email accounts

Estimates show that as of 2022, the average email user had 1.86 email accounts. This stands to reason as people generally have one email account for work and one for personal use. By combining this with the number of email users worldwide, we can estimate that there are roughly 8.3 billion personal email accounts.

Number of email users worldwide graph

(Sources: Radicati 2018, Radicati 2023)

How email is used in the workplace

Our study on workplace communications found that email is the most commonly used workplace communication tool, with 52.2% of employees using emails at least once a week. We also found that email is the preferred communication tool in seven out of ten industries, including technology, healthcare, and manufacturing.

People spend an average of 5 hours per week reading and writing emails at work, and most workers (38.4%) say they receive between six and ten emails per day.

42.8% of workers say they use Gmail at least once a week and 20% say they use Outlook at least once a week.

28% of employee time is spent reading and answering emails

Another study by Microsoft found that employees spend 11 hours per week managing and organizing emails. That’s approximately 2,970 working days across a 45-year working career. Alongside this, the data shows that 28% of employees’ time is spent reading and answering emails.

This research also found that each email takes up roughly a minute of a worker’s time, potentially harming productivity, as many emails do not require action to be taken. Most emails (85%) are read on smartphones but replied to on a computer, meaning they are read twice before being answered. This is another way that emails can damage work productivity. (Source: CTech)

The most used email clients worldwide

Email clients are the software applications installed on computers and mobile devices that support the writing, sending, and receiving of emails. Below is a summary of the most used email clients around the world.

Apple holds 55.64% of the global email client share

Globally, the most commonly used email client is Apple with over half of the total email client market share (55.64%). Based on the total number of email users worldwide, we can estimate that Apple has 2.49 billion email users, likely due to the popularity of iPhones that come with Apple Mail pre-installed. This is followed by Gmail at 31.16% of the total market and an estimated 1.4 billion users.

Global email client market share graph

(Source: Litmus)

How often people check their emails

Data from one study found that 88% of people use email every day, with 39% checking their inbox between three and five times a day. The research also shows that 61% of people mainly check their emails on a mobile device. (Source: Zero Bounce)

Research by Mailjet found that 55.2% of email users check their emails first thing in the morning before looking at social media, the news, or anything else online, and possibly before they’ve even got out of bed.

80% of people check their inbox for work emails

The most common thing people check their inboxes for is emails from work, with 80% of people saying they check work emails when they log in. Alongside this, 43% of people say they look at their inbox for messages from friends and family, while 40% log in to check for discounts and promotional offers.

Why do people check their inbox graph

(Source: Zero Bounce)

The first uses of email were in 1971

It is generally recognized that Ray Tomlinson sent the first email between computers in 1971 using the ARPANET computer network.

The first quotation of the term ‘electronic mail’ in The Oxford English Dictionary was used in 1975, while the abbreviation ‘email’ was included four years later in 1979. This use of the term email referred to a United States Postal Office (USPS) project called Electronic Computer Originated Mail (abbreviated to E-COM).

How email usage has changed over time

The use of email has exploded over the last three decades, with more than half of the world population now using it for work, personal use, or both.

There are 448 times more email users today than in 1997

In 1997, there were just 10 million email users worldwide, making up a tiny 0.17% of the world population at the time (approximately 5.91 billion). This means the percentage of people who use email has increased by a staggering 33312% to 56.8% of the population, and the total number of email users has increased by 44710% to 4.48 billion as of 2024.

It is predicted that the total number of email users worldwide will reach 4.85 billion by 2027.

Change in number of email users graph

(Sources: The Guardian, CNN, Redmond, Pingdom, Radicati)

Number of emails sent worldwide per day

An average of 361.6 billion emails are sent each day around the world, with this figure predicted to increase to 408.2 billion by 2027. Based on the 4.48 billion estimated email users in 2024, this means the average email user receives 80.6 emails per day. (Source: Radicati)

Our research found that 49% of emails sent each day were spam, with an average total of 162 billion spam emails sent globally every day.

Amount of emails sent per day

The average size of an email

The size of an email can vary depending on the content contained within it, including any images or files attached to the email.

An average email without attachments is 75KB

Studies show that an average text email is around 75 kilobytes (KB) in size, not including any attachments. (Source: MailMeteor)

According to emissions researcher and writer Mike Berners-Lee, a normal text email has a carbon footprint of 0.3g of carbon, but this can rise to 50g if an email has a large attachment. (Source: EuroNews)

If all the 361.1 billion emails sent each day created 0.3g of CO2, this would amount to an estimated 108,000 metric tons of carbon being released per day. This is roughly the equivalent of the CO2 produced by 23,500 cars in a day. (Based on an average car emitting 4.6 metric tons of CO2 per year). (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Email open rates by industry

An email open rate refers to the number of emails opened compared to the number of emails sent. Data from Constant Contact shows how email open rates vary for different business industries. The table below shows the average open rate for emails from businesses to their customer base in each industry.

The average email open rate across industries is 36.83%

Emails from the childcare services industry have the highest open rate at 48.83%, followed by faith-based organizations (46.28%) and family and social services (43.08).

Across all of the industries analyzed, the average email open rate is 36.83%.

Business Type Open Rate
Childcare Services 48.83%
Faith-Based Organizations 46.28%
Family and Social Services (government, adoption, pet care, elderly care, etc.) 43.08%
Recreation, Sports & Entertainment (Yoga studio, bowling alley, etc) 42.21%
Nonprofit Membership Organizations 42.16%
Nonprofit Services 41.47%
Education 40.91%
Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers 40.66%
Home & Building Services (cleaning, landscaping, contractors, construction, etc.) 40.07%
Travel & Tourism (passenger transport, accommodations, travel agencies, etc.) 39.03%
Dining and Food Services 38.58%
Health and Wellness (physicians, home care, dentists, mental care, nutrition, etc.) 36.66%
Personal Care Services (nail, hair, skin, nutrition, fitness, etc) 36.43%
Transportation Services (trucking, warehousing, logistics) 35.22%
Real Estate 34.91%
Retail (Brick and Mortar & Online, wholesale and direct selling) 33.57%
Legal Services 32.12%
Administrative & Business Support Services (billing, phone answering, hiring, etc.) 31.75%
Financial Services (accounting services, bookkeeping, advisor, insurance and brokerage, etc) 31.71%
Consulting Services (management, marketing, advertising, blogging) 30.46%
Manufacturing and Distribution 30.08%
Repair and Maintenance 29.72%
Technology Services 21.25%
All Industries – Overall Average 36.80%

Source: Constant Contact

The biggest email data breaches in history

The Identity Theft Resource Center reported that in 2021, a record number of 1,862 data breaches were recorded in the U.S., breaking the previous record of 1,506 from 2017.

Let’s take a look at some examples of the biggest email data breaches in history.

Microsoft Exchange servers – 2021

In January 2021, Microsoft saw one of the biggest cyberattacks in U.S. history. More than 30,000 businesses in the U.S. and 60,000 worldwide were impacted by the attack on the Microsoft Exchange email servers.

Hackers took advantage of zero-day coding errors to break into Microsoft’s email servers, deploy malware, and request access to data. A lot of people approved these requests, assuming they were genuine because they came from the Exchange servers themselves.

The U.S. was the most targeted country with 17% of exploit attempts, followed by Germany (6%) and the United Kingdom (5%). The most targeted sector was Government and Military (23%), with Manufacturing second (15%) and Banking and Financial Services third (14%). (Source: Checkpoint)

Yahoo! – 2013-2016

A series of cyberattacks on Yahoo resulted in all 3 billion of their user accounts being exposed, the current record for the most people affected by a data breach. Russian hackers stole information including full names, email addresses, birth dates, and encrypted passwords.

According to the New York Times, Yahoo originally reported that the breach had affected 1 billion accounts. But after Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017, it was reported that all 3 billion accounts had been affected.

Verifications.io – 2019

The email address validation service, Verifications.io, suffered a data breach in February 2019 that led to 763 million user records being exposed. These include email addresses, names, IP addresses, and phone numbers.

The breach was found by a security researcher who discovered a non-password-protected 150GB-sized MongoDB instance. (Source: Bank Info Security)

Summary

The use of email has changed drastically over the last few decades, cementing it as a staple for communication in both our work and personal lives. Many of us rely on emails to communicate with colleagues, receive information from companies we buy from, and even sign up for crucial services we need access to.

However, email does pose its risks with a high proportion of the emails we receive each day coming from spam sources, and record numbers of data leaks in recent years. Despite this, email shows no sign of slowing down with a whopping 4.85 billion email users predicted by 2027.

The authors

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Cai Ellis

SEO Manager

Hi! My name is Cai, and I've worked in digital marketing for many years. More recently, I've been concentrating on email marketing, through testing tools and writing guides. And I've also picked up a bit of SEO know-how along the way! If you've got questions about these or any related subjects, I'll be happy to help!

Roberta Phillips

Marketing Manager

Hey, I'm Roberta! Having worked as a digital marketer for a host of online businesses, I've tried, tested, fallen in love with and despaired with so many marketing tools. I'm excited to help you find the email marketing and CRM tools you need to thrive.

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Our Methodology

This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

Our Methodology