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Mobile E-mail Replacing Desktop E-mail: Report

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Mobile E-mail Replacing Desktop E-mail: Report
August 03, 2010
By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing


Americans are spending more and more of their time online, according to a new report from Nielsen, that also revealed that social networking and social gaming both beat out e-mail to top the time users spent online – on the desktop, that is.

Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs, up from 15.8 percent just a year ago (43 percent increase) according to new research released by Nielsen.

According to the Nielsen study (see chart below), which measured online activity of 200,000 users and comparing results from 2010 to the previous year, e-mail use on the desktop dropped from 12 percent to 8.3 percent, and fell into third place behind social gaming like Farmville.

Nielsen analyst Dave Martin said that despite the vast amount of opportunities to spend time online, Americans have adopted three main habits leaving other sectors on a downward course.

“Despite the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the web, 40 percent of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities – social networking, playing games and emailing leaving a whole lot of other sectors fighting for a declining share of the online pie,” Martin said.

Meanwhile, time spent on e-mail on mobile devices went up from 37 percent to 42 percent – clearly dominating other mobile online activities.

Social networking sites like Facebook (News - Alert), Twitter and YouTube are growing exponentially, with Facebook reporting it just passed 500 million users, and Twitter just sent its 20 billionth tweet. These trends are giving way to new marketing platforms for companies to engage more effectively with customers, according to a PC World report.

Mobile users also continue to proliferate the online world – according to Nielsen, there is a double-digit (28 percent) rise in the prevalence of social networking behavior, but the dominance of e-mail activity on mobile devices continue with an increase from 37.4 percent to 41.6 percent of U.S. mobile Internet time.

In related news, a recent Kelton research study revealed how heavily Americans relied on their PCs as a communication portal for staying in touch by using social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, interacting with friends and family using the online chat and keeping abreast with the latest news in sports and politics from around the world.

Top 10 Sectors by Share of U.S. Internet Time
RANK Category Share of Time
June 2010
Share of Time
June 2009
% Change in
Share of Time
1 Social Networks 22.7% 15.8% 43%
2 Online Games 10.2% 9.3% 10%
3 E-mail 8.3% 11.5% -28%
4 Portals 4.4% 5.5% -19%
5 Instant Messaging 4.0% 4.7% -15%
6 Videos/Movies 3.9% 3.5% 12%
7 Search 3.5% 3.4% 1%
8 Software Manufacturers 3.3% 3.3% 0%
9 Multi-category Entertainment 2.8% 3.0% -7%
10 Classifieds/Auctions 2.7% 2.7% -2%
  Other 34.3% 37.3% -8%
Source (News - Alert): The Nielsen Company

Erin Harrison is a senior editor with TMCnet, primarily covering telecom expense management, politics and technology and Web 2.0. She serves as senior editor for TMC's print publications, including "Internet Telephony", "Customer Interaction Solutions", "Unified Communications (News - Alert)" and "NGN" magazines. Erin also oversees production of TMCnet's weekly iPhone e-Newsletter. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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