85% of Americans Say They Feel Stressed From Email

Edison Mail study: 30% of Americans say an increase in email volume made their jobs more difficult in 2021.

Key Takeaways:

  • 40% of Americans received more daily notifications in 2021 vs. 2020
  • Americans rely on their email inbox to manage online shopping (61%) more than anything else–including correspondence for work (49%) or with friends/family (45%)

The world in 2022 continues to search for its footing following the pandemic induced upheaval of our daily routines. Increased time at home, heavier reliance on the internet, and the acceleration of remote work have altered the way we communicate with each other in today’s digital ecosystem.

The past two years saw communication platforms scramble to meet the needs of both consumers and businesses that wanted to stay connected. Zoom made big gains championing video meetings. TikTok surged after it normalized short form video entertainment alongside social media networks like Facebook and Instagram. Salesforce acquired Slack and created new competition with Microsoft Teams, while messaging app WhatsApp reportedly set its sights on growing its U.S. user base. Across all of these different ways to communicate, more than 319 billion emails per day were also sent and received in 2021.

To better understand how the American digital communication landscape has changed since 2020, our Edison Mail “2022 State of Communications” national research study offers insights about consumer communication habits, attitudes, preferences, and pain points.

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.
Figure 2: Chart shows most frequently used communication method in ranking of top 1 and 2 out of 6 in personal life. 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.

Text Message/SMS & Email Communication are King

Nearly all Americans use phone calls, text messages, and emails to communicate in their personal lives, and most use video calls and social media. But when it comes to the most frequently used (primary or secondary) method of connecting with each other, nearly three quarters (72%) of the country relies on text message/SMS and nearly half (46%) relies on email.

Nearly half (47%) ranked text message/SMS as their #1 most used communication method, while 22% ranked email #1. American men (27%) were more likely than women (17%) to rank email as their #1 most used communication method in their personal life.

Adoption of Messaging Apps, Social Media & Video Calls is Slow

By comparison, modern and tech driven communication channels like messaging apps, social media and video calls have less frequent usage in the USA. 19% of Americans rank Messaging Apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Signal) as one of their most used communication (first or second) methods in their personal life, while 16% named Social Media (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook).

Only 7% said video calls (e.g. Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facetime) were their most used method of communication.

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.

Email Used Less for Correspondence, More for Online Shopping

When it comes to what information people are relying on their inbox to manage, today’s digital era has shown a shift in email becoming a repository for our online activities. Americans are more likely to rely on their email inbox for online shopping (61%) as opposed to anything else — including correspondence for work (49%) or with friends and family (45%), customer service or communication with businesses (48%), and verifying their identity for online accounts (44%).

Looking specifically at the gender divide, women (67%), more so than men (55%) relied on their email inbox for online shopping.

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.
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.

2021 Saw Communication Overload Reach New Heights

With so many ways to communicate available, 40% of Americans said they received more daily notifications in 2021 vs. 2020 across email, text messages, and other channels. One third of the U.S. (31%) said they received 50% more communications in 2021 than they did in 2020, and 10% even reported receiving 100% more.

85% of the country reported feeling stress and fatigue from email specifically. Email overload is a concept we’re all too familiar with, and 2021 saw the issue only worsen.

“While Zoom was the talk of 2020, many businesses were not reliant on email marketing before the pandemic and were forced to pivot, leading to an increase in email volume across the digital ecosystem,” said Edison Mail’s Vice President of Marketing, Hetal Pandya.

One third of Americans (30%) said they felt more stressed by their email in 2021 compared to 2020. And when it came to issues getting through the work day, 30% said an increase in email volume made their jobs more difficult in 2021, while 21% blamed video calls. Surprisingly, only 15% of people found that the addition of new communication tools such as Slack, Zoom, and Telegram impeded their job productivity.

“With most Americans feeling stressed and fatigued from their email communications and nearly a third facing issues at work due to email volume, it’s obvious that there are systemic problems that need to be solved,” Pandya continued.

Email overload is a major problem of focus for email app developers like Edison Mail that have worked hard to help consumers manage overwhelming inboxes with more effective abilities to one-tap unsubscribe, block senders, clear their inbox of unnecessary spam and bloat. The #1 independent email app on the App Store, Edison Mail was designed for today’s era as consumers desperately search for a way to manage communication overload.

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

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Edison Software is a consumer technology company with a mission to create more intelligent products to serve people. www.edison.tech