Email Marketing Trends: Mobile vs Desktop

By Agata Celmerowski on 9th May 2014

By now, the fact that people are increasingly accessing email on mobile devices is no longer a surprise. Our data shows that from Q1’13 through Q1’14, 41% of nearly 1.8 billion email opens were on mobile devices. That’s a whole lot of email making its first impression on a small screen.

Email Marketing Trends

So what does that mean for how you approach your email marketing? Will the day come where we can ignore the desktop? Is mobile changing the way subscribers click? Is triaging email on a mobile device, before returning later, a common behavior? And if it is, are people returning to their email on the same device or are they looking at if from their computer?

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about getting your emails in the inbox and looking right! We put on our detective hats to get to the bottom of it for you. After analyzing nearly 22 billion emails sent across 6 million campaigns in late 2013 and early 2014, we’ve compiled a report to help guide you through the brave new world of mobile email.

Email Marketing Trends: Email interaction across mobile and desktop takes a look at where people are opening their emails and when they’re clicking through. We also reviewed how subscriber behavior changes based on where the email is first read. One thing we noticed was that those who read an email on their mobile device, and then went on to open again from their desktop, were far more likely to click through than people opening the email for the first time. They were even more likely than those that opened it again using their mobile device.

That means the new gold standard for a successful campaign is content that’s good enough to bring your reader back for seconds-- and an email that will look great on the desktop and mobile. Fortunately, we’ve got a couple of tips to help you get there.

Read the report

Check out the full report to learn more about how email is consumed on mobile devices vs the desktop. You’ll also get benchmarks on open rates by different email clients; advice on improving your campaigns; and stats around the relationship between opens and clicks by environment.

Happy reading!


  • email monster
    16th May

    I’ve noticed that when viewing Yahoo mail on a mobile device by default you get the plain text version of the email with a link to the HTML version.  It kind of defeats the point of responsive design!

  • Paul West
    16th May

    Hey Email Monster, I do know that Yahoo Mail doesn’t support mobile responsive design in their mobile app, there is some information on which apps do support responsive design in our guide here.

    That said, Yahoo should show the HTML version of the email, rather than a Plain Text email. We’d be happy to help with your campaign, feel free to drop an email to support and we can take a look!

  • email monster
    17th May

    Hi Paul West,

    I think it’s a recent change.  On Tuesday this week I logged on to my Yahoo account on my phone and noticed for every email I opened (around 10) it showed the plain text version initially opposed to the HTML version.  These weren’t emails I’ve been involved in building but emails I’d received from a variety of sources including eBay,, MapMyWalk, Nectar and other smaller companies.  Yahoo didn’t used to do this.

  • Carissa Phillips
    17th May

    Hi email monster, some mobile email clients will change the display depending on the speed of your connection. If you wouldn’t mind contacting support with details, we’d be happy to do some testing for you.

  • matthew
    24th May

    beautiful report, well done. randomly: can you tell me how you made the flowchart? i understand you used amcharts for some of the graphs but i am curious about the section called: how mobile readers interact…

  • Mathew Patterson
    26th May

    Thanks Matthew for your kind words. The section you refer to was actually built by hand internally by Tim, one of our talented design team.

    He’ll be glad you noticed his hard work!

  • Simon
    2nd June

    Are we able to target people (via segments) based on the client they use to read the emails? We can see what they are using in their activity report for each user, but don’t know how we can interrogate this information to use it in a segment?

    For that matter, if people are known to be reading on multiple devices, moving from Mobile to Desktop (as we know they are), then why does the user’s activity report only show “...reads email on iPad” rather than showing a few devices?  Isn’t it about time this gave more complete detail as to exactly what methods people are using, rather than just one?

    It’d also be handy to see what email client was associated with the individual open/click events that are logged for each user per campaign that has been sent. We can see people open emails multiple times, at different times and dates, and I’d expect these are people who may be viewing at first on mobile and then going to a desktop and re-opening and then clicking through to purchase, but we can’t see that info in the activity report, just the one mention of “reads email with Outlook 2010” or similar.

  • Chris Bowler
    3rd June

    Hi Simon! Unfortunately, it’s not possible to segment by email client. We do have a logged feature request for this however, and I’ve added a vote to that request on your behalf.

    As for the device shown on a subscriber’s profile, this is simply the most recent client used. You’re right — it would be great to see all the clients a subscriber uses. I’ve logged a new feature request for this as well. Thank you for chiming in!

  • Charlotte Craig
    6th June

    Interesting article, in particular the idea of Triage.  I wonder if this is happening because the user is on the go and doesn’t have time to read an email, or because the email itself is not response so not as easy to digest as a text only email.  Probably a combination of both!

Got something to add?

Sign up for free.
Then send campaigns for as little as $9/month

Create an account