Return Path Report Reveals Nearly Half of All Emails Received Now Read on Mobile Devices

Study finds retail, consumer product and real estate industries lead email open rates on mobile devices

NEW YORK – Dec. 11, 2012 – Return Path, the global leader in email intelligence, today announced the results of its global bi-annual mobile email report, finding more people are opening email on mobile devices (37 percent) than through webmail using a browser (30 percent).  Mobile open share has increased 300 percent since 2010 and shows no sign of slowing, with four out of 10 emails sent being read on a mobile device. 

Mobile usage is greatest among the retail (40 percent), consumer product (40 percent) and real estate (38 percent) industries.  The study also found that the type of information being reviewed could impact open rates on mobile devices.   A significant amount of banking-related emails (60 percent) are still opened on desktops, likely for security reasons.

“The data shows a clear opportunity for marketers who take audience device and platform preference into consideration when leveraging the email channel.  Using analytics to gather email intelligence can tell marketers when and where resources should be invested into a mobile marketing strategy to maximize their budget,” said Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path. “Marketers who rely on open rates, without incorporating more sophisticated ways to evaluate campaign success, stand to lose significant revenue.”

Ensuring email marketing campaigns are optimized for both mobile and the desktop has emerged as a necessary step for marketers, as mobile email has twice as many click-through conversions than search or social (Monetate, 2012).  That said, the study shows email users still make most of their online purchases through a desktop computer, proving that optimizing for both platforms is essential.

Globally, the report also found a variance in mobile usage by region. More Americans open email on mobile devices than their European and South American counterparts. In most regions, Android and iOS dominate the mobile marketplace.

Return Path also uncovered data that suggests mobile behavior varies depending on the smartphone operating system.

  • More Apple users are using their devices to open and read email than any other group, with the iPad seeing more growth in email opens when compared to the iPhone; the release of the iPad Mini should further increase its share of opens
  • Windows Mobile saw an 85 percent increase in email opens since April 2012, but still only comprise 0.3 percent of total email opens on smartphones

The complete study, including infographics, can be downloaded here.


Return Path analyzed data from its email intelligence tools that tracks which platforms and email software programs subscribers use to open emails. For this study, we examined nearly 1.8 billion data points from April 2012 through October 2012.

About Return Path

Return Path is the worldwide leader in email intelligence. We analyze more data about email than anyone else in the world and use that data to power products that ensure that only emails people want and expect reach the inbox. Our industry-leading email intelligence solutions utilize the world’s most comprehensive set of data to maximize the performance and accountability of email, build trust across the entire email ecosystem and protect users from spam and other abuse. We help businesses build better relationships with their customers and improve their email ROI; and we help ISPs and other mailbox providers enhance network performance and drive customer retention.  Information about Return Path can be found at:


Tami Forman
Return Path
+1 646 367 3905
[email protected]

Kristen Stippich
Weber Shandwick for Return Path
+1 212 445 8030
[email protected]


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