Majority Of Email Opens Are Mobile, But Most Conversions On The Desktop

iPhone generates 42 percent of opens, but only 18 percent of conversions.


It has been true for some time that the majority of email opens are on mobile devices (roughly two-thirds). However, Movable Ink’s Q2 “US Consumer Device Preference Report” provides some additional nuance on top of that basic insight.

This past quarter, nearly 68 percent of emails were opened on a mobile device, with 52 percent of those being opened on smartphones. The iPhone was the dominant device, generating 42 percent of all email opens. The desktop saw just over 32 percent of email opens.

Q2 email opens

In Q1, there were more email conversions (variously defined) coming from mobile devices than from the PC. However, the Q2 report finds that desktop email conversions are now back up. Accordingly, almost 53 percent of all conversions in Q2 were on the PC. Smartphones drove 29 percent of conversions and tablets 18 percent.

Here’s the conversions breakdown by platform and device:

  • PC: 52.6 percent
  • iPhone: 18.7 percent
  • iPad: 14.4 percent
  • Android: 10.5 percent
  • Other mobile devices: 3.9 percent

Movable Ink looked at “email read length” (call it engagement) by device — in other words, how much time device users were spending with individual emails (0 to 15+ seconds). It found that on balance, Kindle users spend the most time with individual emails, while iPhone and iPad users generally spend the least amount of time reading them.

Movable Ink Q2 2015

There are also some variations by vertical. Retail was the industry in Q2 that saw the highest number of mobile email opens in this analysis. Automotive and non-profits were the categories that saw higher-than-average desktop email opens. Yet whatever the vertical, all email must be mobile-optimized.

Movable Ink Q2 2015

Looking at the above data in the context of the bigger picture, the challenges are interesting and fairly obvious:

  • The iPhone is the single dominant mobile email reading device, but its users spend the least amount of time looking at individual emails
  • Mobile devices drive more opens but far fewer conversions (example: iPhone: 42 percent of opens, 18 percent of conversions)

This calls for some device-specific (iOS) best practices, as well as tips on how to optimize mobile email more generally for conversions. We’d welcome that input.

Movable Ink’s data were generated from performance tracking of more than 1 billion emails from the company’s aggregate customer base between April and June of this year.

(Some images used under license from