68% of Americans Say App Notifications Interfered With Their Productivity

Increase in notifications is now a nationwide stressor

  • 54% of Americans are suffering from email overload and 59% surveyed reported the majority of emails they receive aren’t useful to them.
  • 66% of Americans said email messages and notifications made them feel stressed or fatigued in the last year.
  • Email phishing scams ranked as the top cause of email stress or worry
  • A greater percentage of iPhone users have felt an increase in email stress from 2020 to 2021 when compared to Android users.

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, an important time to recognize and educate ourselves about the stressors impacting our well-being. In this digital age of constant connectivity to all things going on in the world, with our health, our jobs, and families, we experience a constant influx of stressors. Outside of the major world events that influence our mental state, the daily interactions we have of managing our digital lives, such as that of our email inbox, are affecting our mental health.

Now more than ever before, individuals find themselves constantly bombarded with notifications across their inbox, chat apps, text messages, social media and more. From our professional to personal lives, most of us are now made to be available 24/7 and notification overload is a real pain point. As remote work has led to increased flexibility in work schedules, employees find themselves able to run out for lunch in the middle of the day, run errands in the afternoon, and work at night as opposed to during the normal 9–5 workday. These late-night working sessions lead to late-night emails, leading to increased stress levels especially on the email receiver’s end.

As Edison Mail’s previous study showed, 40% of Americans reported that they received more daily notifications in 2021 vs. 2020. Along with that study came another recent study that showed those who received these off-hours emails tended to feel an outsized level of stress from these missives.

Edison Mail’s 2022 State of Email study found that email continues to be one of the greatest workplace stressors faced by Americans today. This survey also highlights the email types that lead to the greatest amount of stress as well as the overall sentiment toward email from the general population.

Figure 1: Results are from an online survey questionnaire developed by Edison Mail and fielded nationally online by SurveyMonkey within the US on January 13, 2022 among 1,112 adults ages 18 and older.

Notification overload driving stress, lower productivity

Within the past year, the majority (68%) of Americans reported that the frequency of notifications they received interfered with their productivity (that is, accomplishing what they had planned to accomplish).

Figure 2: Results are from an online survey questionnaire developed by Edison Mail and fielded nationally online by SurveyMonkey within the US on January 13, 2022 among 1,112 adults ages 18 and older.

Email continues to be a chronic stressor for many — more than half of Americans (54%) are suffering from email overload and 59% reported that the majority of emails they receive are not useful to them.

One third of Americans say that the ability to unsubscribe from email they don’t want is difficult (27%) and one fourth say their inbox is unmanageable (24%). 2 in 10 Americans (17%) say they have abandoned email accounts before due to too much junk/spam.

While a minority of the population, some Americans did report that they enjoy their email experience. 28% reported that they enjoy checking email and 34% like the email program they use.

Email is the largest notification stressor with text messages/SMS a close second

Figure 3: Results are from an online survey questionnaire developed by Edison Mail and fielded nationally online by SurveyMonkey within the US on January 13, 2022 among 1,112 adults ages 18 and older.

While 66% of Americans said that email messages and notifications made them feel stressed or fatigued in the last year, a little over half the country (51%) said email notifications were the most stressful source of notifications in the past year. This was followed closely by text messages/SMS at 46%.

Email was more likely to cause the most stress/fatigue for 30% of respondents compared to any other communication platform — including text messages (21%), phone calls (21%), and social media (7%).

Figure 4: Results are from an online survey questionnaire developed by Edison Mail and fielded nationally online by SurveyMonkey within the US on January 13, 2022 among 1,112 adults ages 18 and older.

82% of Americans experience stress or worry from email, with email phishing scams coming in as the top ranking stressor at 47%. Following behind were emails from marketers / sales people at #2 (37%), shopping emails at #3 (28%), emails from their boss/colleagues at #4 (25%), and email from their customers/clients at #5 (21%).

Figure 5: Results are from an online survey questionnaire developed by Edison Mail and fielded nationally online by SurveyMonkey within the US on January 13, 2022 among 1,112 adults ages 18 and older.
Figure 6: Results are from an online survey questionnaire developed by Edison Mail and fielded nationally online by SurveyMonkey within the US on January 13, 2022 among 1,112 adults ages 18 and older.

Interestingly, we see that those who use email in their personal lives rank email more stressful than those who don’t, and that a greater percentage of iPhone users have felt an increase in email stress from 2020 to 2021 when compared to Android users.

“Email, while crucial to daily life, continues to be an incredible stressor for too many Americans,” said Hetal Pandya, Edison Mail’s Vice President of Marketing. “With the rise in email and notification overload, both employers and employees need to figure out ways to manage the anxieties and worries that come from an ever connected world.”

With the amount of stress and anxiety caused by email notification overload, Edison Mail has created features geared to reduce these pesky pings that go off at all hours of the day. We’ve put power back into the hands of the consumers so you’re able to focus on your priorities instead of being distracted by every stray message. From the email alert itself, you can with Edison Mail mute all future notifications from that sender, reducing the number of notifications you receive. We are the pioneers of one-tap unsubscribe from junk and have expanded on that ability by giving you abilities to one-tap Block Sender and customizable one-swipe Mark as Spam or Block Sender so you’re able to clear your inbox of the unnecessary senders in your lives. The #1 independent email app on the App Store, Edison Mail was designed for today’s era as people everywhere search for a better email experience.

Edison Mail is available on the App Store, Mac App Store, and Play Store.

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