E-mailing, the most common activity on the Internet



 Do you use the Internet? If you do, then it is highly likely that you also use e-mail. This is in fact the most common daily activity among Swedish Internet users according to the 2011 Swedes and the Internet report.

E-mail seems to be the communication channel whose death has been proclaimed the most. Every time something new comes up – for example, Instant Messaging, Facebook or Twitter – the prophets of woe have predicted its imminent demise.

E-mail, however, does not care in any way about such bad news. On the contrary.

A large-scale survey of our Internet habits, the 2011 Swedes and the Internet report, was published recently. The report asks questions about people’s actual activities on the Internet – and their frequency. And here those of us, who are interested in e-mailing, find some pearls of wisdom.

The report establishes that e-mailing is one of the most important activities on the Internet, no matter how these are measured.

Who uses the Internet?

Let us first take a look at how many people use the Internet. Almost everyone, it turns out.

• 83% of the whole population uses the Internet (3-100 years).

• 96 % of the age group 18-65 years uses the Internet.

This makes Swedes a very connected people indeed. We – as well as our Nordic neighbours – are world leaders when it comes to infrastructure and number of households which have access to the Internet. We have so many users that we literally cannot see any increase in their number – although it is clear that we spend more and more time online. All age groups increase their presence on the Internet – and there are no signs of any decrease.

… and what do they do there?

The next question is what people do online. There is a big difference here depending on how often you do something – quite many people, for example, use online banking but the majority of them do their bank errands on a single occasion once a month.

If we take a look at the things people do occasionally, there is one thing pretty much everyone does: they use Google. However, almost just as many – 95% – write or read e-mails.
Therefore: almost all Swedes use e-mail now and then.

There is also a question about what people do every day. And quite suddenly, there are very few things that stick out here. Reading newspapers and social networking are high on the agenda (35%), just like news searching (44%). Full 56% of Internet users search things on Google on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, this is good enough only for the second place. What most people use the Internet for every day is namely e-mailing. Not less than 64% of everyone using the Internet check their inbox every day.

Therefore: those of you who work with e-mail marketing stand a very good chance of reaching their customers with up-to-date offers. Better than any other digital communication channel.

… and where are they?

The mobile revolution has left its marks. More and more people have mobile telephones with an Internet connection – and they use it. There has been a strong increase in the number of mobile Internet users during the last year and even though younger users predominate, a clear increase is observed in all age groups.

Over the last couple of years, we have experienced a very strong technological development which has caused a general increase in Internet use. Something more, mobile use does not compete with other uses, for example, at home or at the office, but complements them. Mobile Internet users use the Internet, on average, for four hours per week and many of them take avail of the opportunity to read e-mails on their mobile phones. Technological development has made e-mail work well on the mobile phone today – but you as a sender should consider what it means for you to have your letters read on a mobile phone.

What does this mean for those of us who work with e-mail marketing?

• We can see that more and more people use the Internet more and more.
At the same time, we can feel certain that e-mailing is a central part of people’s use of the Internet – and everything indicates that things will stay the same.

• A lot points in favour of the assertion that social media work best as a supplement to e-mail marketing rather than as independent marketing channels – at least if the goal is to reach a majority of Internet users.

• You should work out a strategy that takes into consideration the fact that more and more people read newsletters on their mobile phones. This could be a positive change – but you should be prepared for it and for its future effect on your marketing!

Source: 2011 Swedes and the Internet report. The report is issued by .SE (the Swedish Internet Infrastructure Foundation), which is an independent non-profit organisation working for the positive development of the Internet in Sweden. .SE is responsible for the Swedish top-level Internet domain, .se, including for registration of domain names and the technical operation of the national domain registry.

The report is available for download at http://www.iis.se/docs/SOI2011.pdf

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