With texts, tweets, Facebook Chat, and Skype all available as means of instantaneous communication, it's no surprise that the good ol' email seems to be on its way out — at least for teens.
According to a report recently released by digital marketing research company comScore, web-based email usage for teens 12 to 17 years old decreased 31 percent between December 2010 and December 2011. Even more surprising is the 34 percent drop in email usage among 18 to 24 year-olds, many of whom grew up right alongside the Internet. To put those numbers in context, consider that comScore's 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review report found that between December 2009 and December 2010, web-based email use by people 12 to 17 years old declined a staggering 59 percent, while usage by 18 to 24 year-olds decreased just 1 percent.
"While the significant decline among teens represents a continuation of a similar trend observed last year, that 18-24 year olds are now moving away from webmail suggests a larger and more permanent shift in email usage may be occurring," explains comScore's new report.
This "shift" describes the move away from computer-based web engagement and towards Internet use on mobile devices, which are quickly becoming the main medium for digital consumption. While web-based email use by consumers ages 18 to 24 has dropped, mobile email use in the same age group climbed 32 percent in the last year.
As might be expected, smartphone and tablet usage has also grown. According to the report, two in five mobile device users now own a smartphone. And an even more startling statistic is how quickly tablets have become a mobile contender. The report explains:
To put the rapid uptake of tablets in perspective, it took seven years to reach nearly 40 million smartphones compared to less than two years to reach nearly 40 million tablets, demonstrating the vast appeal of these devices and consumers' desire for connection.
With smartphones and tablets becoming the norm with digital consumers of any age, many companies are taking advantage of users' constant mobile connection.
"In order to be successful in this new paradigm, digital marketers must understand the key trends shaping the current marketplace and what that means for the future of their businesses," Linda Abraham, comScore CMO and EVP of Global Product Development, notes in the company's press release.
LinkedIn is looking out for its future by planning to invest in the growing mobile arena this year. CEO Jeff Weiner said fifteen percent of its unique member visits come from mobile users, as reported by
. Facebook also has plans to launch mobile advertising by the end of March,
Not all groups are abandoning web-based email, however. People between 45 and 54 years old increased the time they spent on web-based email 15 percent, though between December 2009 and 2010 their use had declined 12 percent.