March 20, 2014, 12:23 PM

Most e-mails from retailers are opened only on mobile devices

55% of retail marketing e-mails are only opened on smartphones and tablets, according to Yes Lifecycle Marketing. Revenue driven by e-mails opened on desktops jumped 18% in Q4 of 2013 versus a year earlier, while revenue from e-mails opened on mobile devices grew 52%.

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Various studies in the last 12 months have shown a majority of e-mails are opened on mobile devices. A new study adds a new wrinkle: Now, a majority of e-mails are opened only on mobile devices, never touching desktop or laptop computers, finds Yes Lifecycle Marketing, a unit of Infogroup that includes Yesmail Interactive.

55% of retail marketing e-mails are opened only on smartphones and tablets, 36% are opened only on computers, and 9% are opened on a combination of desktop and mobile, according to the study of 6.5 billion e-mails from more than 59,000 campaigns in Q4 2013 by companies in 12 industries. Nearly one-third of the companies studied were retailers.

By comparison, 52% of B2B marketing e-mails are mobile-only, 46% are desktop only and 2% are a combination, the study says.

The shift to viewing e-mail on mobile devices is also reflected in sales figures: Q4 2013 over Q3 2013, revenue driven by e-mails opened on desktops increased 18% while revenue driven by e-mails opened on mobile devices grew 52%, the study says.

Consumer e-mail behavior is changing rapidly. For marketing e-mails in all 12 industries studied by Yes, 30% were only opened on mobile in Q2 2013, 45% in Q3 2013 and 50% in Q4 2013, the study finds. In only six months, the number of mobile-only e-mail viewers has increased nearly as fast as hybrid viewership declined over the same period, Yes says.

“As mobile devices get smarter, better, cheaper and faster, the number of consumers who only read e-mail on mobile will continue to grow, probably peaking beyond 70-80%,” says Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “There is no greater opportunity for retailers right now than the power of social word of mouth that is generated by mobile devices. And e-mail is the tie that binds brands to consumers.”

E-mails opened on mobile devices generated 18% of all orders stemming from e-mails, Yes finds. Of orders attributed to mobile e-mails, 59% came from an iPad, 24% from an iPhone, 16% from an Android smartphone, and 1% from all other smartphones and tablets, the study finds. That devices from Apple Inc. are responsible for the vast majority of mobile orders is no surprise. For example, 85% of mobile commerce sales on tablets stemmed from iPads, according to four retailers who reported figures to Internet Retailer last week. Further, Affiliate Window, which operates affiliate networks in the U.S. and the U.K., reports that in February 2014, 85.2% of sales on tablets occurred on iPads while 14.8% occurred on Android tablets.

Apple iOS devices offer consumers rock-solid security unlike any other mobile devices, they are tremendously difficult to break into,” opines Fisher on why Apple dominates m-commerce. “Apple users already have their credentials stored in the Apple ecosystem, in iTunes, so they’re used to buying via mobile. Apple devices are easy and safe.”

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