Need to reach friends, family or colleagues? Try email.

Woman sitting in chair with illustrations of emails coming out

Remote work has led to consumers embracing new ways to communicate and connect. While video calls will likely continue to play a big role in our daily lives, consumers prefer more traditional text-based communications methods.

As part of the Future of Marketing Research Series, Adobe surveyed 7,000 people across six global regions, asking consumers about their communication preferences and habits. The results reveal that remote work continues to blur the boundaries between work and personal time and that video conferencing fatigue may be leading to a return of tried-and-true communications methods.

Email habits are shifting, especially for personal communications

In today’s world of video calls and text messages, email still reigns supreme when it comes to communicating with colleagues. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said email is the preferred method of communication with colleagues. Email also leads when it comes to personal interactions. 35 percent of global consumers say they prefer email over texting, phone calls and even video calls to connect with friends and family.

Americans are spending over five hours (321 minutes) checking email, a slight increase of 3 percent from last year’s 315 minutes and more than the global average of four and a half hours (273 minutes). Interestingly, Americans spend more time checking their personal email (172 minutes) than their work email (149 minutes), a first since Adobe has surveyed consumers about their email habits.

Graph charting amount of time consumers spend checking personal and work email

Remote work blurs the boundaries between work and personal time

As hybrid work becomes the norm and remote work continues for many, the boundaries between work and personal time are blurring. More than half (57 percent) of consumers check their email before starting their workday. A whopping 71 percent check messaging apps before starting work. Over forty percent of US workers take their first virtual meeting while in bed or getting ready. Nearly 40 percent of younger workers, including Millennials and Gen Z, check their work email while still in bed.

Even when Americans step away from their desks, they aren’t disconnecting from work. Nearly a fifth of consumers check email while taking a walk and 21 percent check their email while in the bathroom. While Americans are multi-tasking when it comes to email, they are, however, prioritizing time with loved ones. The percentage of people checking emails during meals with others in their household has decreased 38 percent, from 21 percent in 2020 to 13 percent in 2021.

Graphic charting when consumers check email, social media apps and conference calls by generation.

Want to reach your customers via email? Focus on frequency and relevancy

Today’s consumers are bombarded with communications. Every minute, 21.1 million text messages are sent, and nearly 200 million emails are sent. While Americans spend over five hours daily checking their emails, they only open half (53 percent) of the emails they receive and only find 31 percent of the emails they receive actually useful.

The majority (61 percent) of consumers prefer brands to communicate with them via email, so how do brands increase the chances their emails get open? The answer lies in less frequent and more tailored emails. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said that getting emailed too often from brands is most annoying both in personal and work emails. 57 percent of consumers find relevant brand offers in their personal email most useful, and 50 percent find relevant work-related brand offers most useful.