Business Email Communication Statistics You Need to Know

Email usage statistics from business communication surveys support the superiority of reaching people by email versus phone calls or regular mail. Although your email message will have plenty of competition, it has a far greater chance of getting your recipient’s attention than a phone call. This is even more true if you know how to write a good business email.

Email Communication Statistics Point to the Death of Cold Calling

Although still a valuable tool in your communication efforts, the age of cold calling may have ended for good. When you want the attention of a large audience, use email instead. A whopping 96 percent of people surveyed by business communication company, ZipWhip, considered phone calls too disruptive to answer.

A Majority of Adults Prefer Email Contact

Among the most notable email communication statistics, 92 percent of people over 18 use email. Of those, 61 percent prefer and respond to email contact from their favorite companies over any other communication form.

Youth Open Email on Their Phones

Notably, the under-18 crowd likes to check email on their mobile phone. In one of the more exciting email usage statistics, forty percent of the under-18 crowd opens emails on their phone first. Moreover, 81 percent prefer smartphones, while 21 percent use a tablet to check email.

People Would Rather Stay Lost in the Woods Than Risk Talking to Telemarketers

The ZipWhip survey had 520 respondents and asked people about their contact preferences. Eighty-seven percent of respondents stated that they ignored or rejected calls from unknown numbers.

This rejection of unknown numbers runs so strong that a lost hiker in Lake County, Colorado, refused to answer calls from Leadville's Search and Rescue team because he believed they were telemarketers.

People Receive Around 126 Emails Per Day

According to technology market research firm Radicati, this figure includes 96 emails received and 30 messages sent. Of those, 77 featured information sought by the recipient, while 19 represented spam that made it past all other filters.

That’s a lot of competition for attention, so your message needs to be on point from the subject line, or it doesn’t stand a chance of being read.

Recipients Read Two-Thirds of All Emails Sent to Them

According to the email workflow application Mailbird, out of 91 million inquiries, their users read around 63 messages per day and sent about eight. Users left their remaining emails unopened and unread, about 35 percent of their received total.

Processing Email Requires More Than a Fourth of the Workday

According to technology, media, and telecommunications research firm McKinsey, among several less-than-stellar email usage statistics, reading and answering emails has commanded a minimum of 28 percent of the average workweek since 2012.

That figure translates into 24 days every year spent managing messages: a whole week longer than the number of annual vacation days most workers receive. Moreover, despite spending so much time processing emails, a third of all messages snowball into the following workday.

Employees Check Email Outside Work Hours

Even before Covid-19 forced so many workers into remote status in 2020, 43 percent of employees surveyed in July 2019 described checking work email every few hours.

Ten percent reported making constant checks for fear of missing something important. Such figures led France to legislate “le droit à la déconnexion” or the right to disconnect, in 2017.

Nevertheless, 78 percent of French workers continued to read emails and texts after hours, even with the legal right to ignore them without facing the consequences.

FOMO, Etiquette, and Email Ethics

Power dynamics and FOMO, or fear of missing out, drive the compulsion to check email often. Scrupulous employers make more significant efforts to limit after-hours communications to the essentials, such as severe weather announcements or disaster notifications, labor relations emergencies, and events that cause work stoppages.

However, some employers need to examine their belief that employees owe all their time to the company.

According to Ask a Manager owner, Alison Green, email etiquette rests on who holds the most power in the exchange. While emails between friends, family, and coworkers who share the same status do not constitute rude intrusions, employers and teachers should always preface after-hours messages with “reply at your convenience” or similar language.

Otherwise, such announcements appear to compel an immediate reply, cutting into personal time and even resulting in wage and hours violations by insisting upon off-the-clock work.

Sending After-Hours Emails Violates Wage and Hour Regulations

Disparities in the power dynamic can result in employees feeling compelled to check after-hours emails and conduct job-related activities without pay.

In particular, encouraging employees to perform job duties off the clock to avoid paying wages or overtime puts your company at risk for a Fair Labor Standards Act wage and hour lawsuit.

The judge or arbitrator will almost certainly rule in the employee’s favor, resulting in severe financial penalties for your company. Employees in such cases usually win up to three years of back wages plus damages up to 100 percent of three previous years of pay.

However, for communication not related to recipient employment, after-hours emails have a much higher open rate than business-hours messages.

For example, if you wish to reach existing customers or cultivate a relationship with new ones, according to a survey conducted between January and June 2019 by GetResponse, send emails on a Tuesday at 10 AM, between 1 PM to 2 PM, or between 4 PM to 6 PM. Unfortunately, weekend opens do not match those Tuesday rates.

Every Email Needs a Call to Action; Not All Calls to Action Request a Sale

Although every contact, email or not, should have a call to action, not every call to action asks for a sale.

Instead, compelling email messages build a relationship before, during, and after requests to make a purchase or use a service.

Conventional sales wisdom dictates you should ABC: Always Be Closing. Instead, Action Selling author Duane Sparks recommends gaining and building upon commitment in the form of opening an email, joining a newsletter list, requesting an industry report, requesting a quote, and so on.

Elements of Effective Email Etiquette

  • Provide a short, clear subject line
  • Create a professional email address. For clarity, your professional email address should include your name.
  • Include a signature block with your name, title, company name, and contact information, including your phone.
  • Use formal grammar and spelling: no emojis or emoticons. Proofread every message you send.
  • When in doubt, leave jokes out.
  • Tailor your message to reflect the receiver’s culture.
  • Make it relevant: separate contacts by interest.
  • Tell recipients what you will do for them instead of asking them to do something for you.
  • Give more than you receive. Every message should provide valuable, actionable advice and information.
  • Check your power. Preface emails with “Reply at your convenience” or “For discussion on (date).”
  • Reply to company emails sent to you by mistake rather than simply ignoring them.
  • Keep subject lines short and informative. Make it clear what the email will discuss. Use a professional email address for business correspondence that includes your first and last name. That tells receivers who sent your message.

Humor has cultural roots, and what some find funny, others find offensive. Therefore, avoid jokes unless you and your recipient already know each other well.

Also, some cultures prefer to know you personally before doing business with you. For example, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese cultures like to socialize before getting down to business. In contrast, more direct cultures such as Germans, Americans, and Scandinavians prefer a business-first approach.

Rather than send a generic email to every contact, tailor your message.

For example, people under 65 may find announcements about Medicare and membership pleas for senior citizen groups offensive, while people 25 through 40 may resent articles making fun of Millennials.

Similarly, Gen Z resents hearing from corporations unless they make the first contact themselves.

Before you ask your contacts to do something for you, make sure you have banked enough goodwill.

Optimize your message for display on mobile phones and tablets since 47 percent of all users prefer opening email on a mobile device. Of those, 81 percent use their smartphone, while 21 percent use a tablet.

Check your power when sending emails. Far from appearing ‘woke’ or afraid of cancel culture, awareness of your position over your recipient demonstrates sound judgment and good etiquette.

Preface after-hours emails with statements such as ‘considerations for tomorrow’s meeting’ or ’thoughts from my desk.’ This practice removes any semblance that you require an immediate response

Finally, when you receive emails by mistake, please reply with, ‘You appear to have sent this message to me by mistake,’ rather than ignoring the sender. (Name) in (department) would be better suited to assist you with this matter. (Name)’s email address is (email), and their phone number and extension are (this).

Otherwise, your inbox may continue filling with irrelevant emails while the individual works their way up the company organizational chart.

Perturbed customers leave poor reviews and attract negative media attention to your company even if you are the wrong contact person.

About the Author
Hi there, I'm James, founder of Melbado. I have over 20 years of experience as a leader and entrepreneur. Recently, I turned to leadership coaching and writing to pass on my knowledge to the next generation. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me via our contact page.


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