Note: This post was last updated on November 9, 2017. 

For the better part of a decade, there has been a lot of discussion about email’s future as an important communication channel for all people, especially within younger generations, and its efficacy for business to consumer communication. We at SendGrid wanted to cut through that noise and leverage what we value most—data—to get real answers and insight into our industry.

We recently teamed up with Egg Strategy, a leading research firm, to study how people use and think about email along with other popular digital communications tools such as Instagram, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Slack, Facebook, Phone, Text, and much more. The Future of Digital Communication Report contains a thorough breakdown of views on email and usage by key demographics that will help tailor your future email campaigns and optimize your entire program.

We hope our customers can benefit from these detailed findings of digital communications usage, attitudes, and trends. Here are just a few key takeaways found in the report:

  • Regardless of age, email is a staple form of communication that is essential, important, and entrenched in the lives of people today.
  • Over the next few years, even Gen Z expects to increase their email usage (a higher percentage than Gen X and Millennials). The majority of Millennials and Gen X expect their email to stay the same or increase as well.
  • Across generations, there is an overwhelming preference for email usage over all other communication forms by consumers when it comes to interactions with businesses.
  • Email is primarily a vehicle for professional or work exchanges, particularly for sharing documents, scheduling meetings, and communicating about work.

Email is alive and well

The world of digital communications has been rapidly evolving over the past 10+ years and I’ve personally noticed my digital communications preferences shift to new tools and channels over that period.

As marketers and developers, we’ve all seen the headlines about email’s actual or pending death. This common myth is repeated with great regularity, particularly when new social media or collaboration products are launched. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

To state the obvious, the implications of whether these headlines are true or not make a huge difference to us as developers and digital marketers who use email and other channels to communicate to our customers daily.

The Future of Digital Communication Report allows us to use real data and feedback as an additional data source that tell us email is still a strong marketing channel and highly utilized even among younger generations.

Check out the stats below that indicate email is not only alive and well, but thriving:

125B commercial emails are sent daily (Radicati)

Email marketing generates $38 in revenue for every $1 spent (DMA).

Email marketing delivers 5x the ROI of social media marketing (eMarketer)

There are over 3.7B email users globally (Radicati). (Fun note: SendGrid sent to 2.0B of those in the 12 months preceding 6/30/17).

More to come

In upcoming posts, we’ll go deeper on several key areas including:

  • Why email is thriving across generations, including Gen Z
  • Why and when consumers prefer using email to communicate with each other and businesses
  • How consumers prefer to interact with companies
  • Key communication usage and preference differences between generations (Gen X, Millennial, Gen Z)

With this fresh research, we now have more precise language and statistics about email’s future in digital communications and digital marketing. We can all agree there are a variety of great tools outside of email that we will use to connect with friends and family, and that workplace collaboration tools are important (heck, we use them ourselves at SendGrid). But, as the report shows, people across generations expect to continue or increase their use of email in the future.

We’ll continue to use email as a key channel to engage with our customers and we’re confident that after reading this report, you will too!

Matt leads SendGrid's Strategy, Research, and Insights function including NPS, Competitive and Market Intelligence, Customer Insights, Analyst Relations, Custom Research efforts, and more. His focus is to help SendGrid be customer-obsessed, competitively-aware, and industry-informed.