‘Large’ decline in Canadians’ email use: Ipsos

The research firm's recent report says Canadians are moving away from email and toward real-time messaging - but that doesn't mean the medium is passé, Veronica Holmes, president, ZenithOptimedia Digital, tells MiC.

Noticed your personal email is a little lighter these days? Or were you too busy digging through your Facebook inbox to notice?

Email as a primary messaging medium is on the decline, a recent Ipsos Reid survey reports. The Q1-conducted survey of 844 Canadians found that email usage by ‘online Canadians’ has declined 35% since 2008, when the average amount of weekly emails was 198. Today, that average sits at 129.

Eighteen- to 34-year-olds receive the least amount of email at 116 per week, the report said, and those with a high school education or less also had emptier inboxes than average. BlackBerry’s Messenger service (BBM) is a popular mode of modern communication, with 26% of respondents reporting they had sent 25 or more messages via the service in the week previous, and MSN Messenger was not far behind at 24%. Twitter, it seems, isn’t as popular for direct communication: 17% said they had not used the service at all in the week previous to send a message to someone, while that figure was only 4% for Facebook and MSN, and 8% for BBM.

Facebook, the report said, is more often used by females and those with lower household incomes, while Twitter, MSN Messenger and BBM were used more frequently by males; MSN more frequently with 18- to 34-year-old males and BBM more frequently with higher-income 35- to 54-year-olds.

However, just because email use is declining does not mean it has become irrelevant as a communications media for marketers, Veronica Holmes, president, ZenithOptimedia Digital, told MiC, when asked if she thought email was starting to be, well, a little passé.

‘With the increase in mobile texting and use of Facebook, it’s not a surprise that email use is declining – but I hardly think email is ‘passé,’ she comments.

‘I believe it’s still a valid platform for CRM and media – but obviously if its impact is decreased, we would expect to see the cost move accordingly. We’re interested in understanding all the consumer touchpoints, especially as they become more fragmented.’