The Numbers Behind E-Mail

It is widely accepted that email is the most popular Internet application. Research done by The Yankee Group found that there are 263 million emailboxes in the world, and more than 100 million of them are managed by ISPs. The Institute for the Future has found that the average white collar worker sends and receives an average of 30 emails per day.

But how many people use email, and how many messages are sent? eMarketer recently set out to answer this question, and concluded there were 3.4 trillion email messages delivered in 1998. That’s 9.4 billion messages every day in the US alone. For comparison, there were 107 billion pieces of first class mail delivered in the US in 1998, eMarketer reports.

According to eMarketer, 81 million Americans use email at least occasionally. The average American sends or receives 26.4 email messages a day. The total number of messages sent by US Internet users is 2.1 billion, eMarketer reports. That means the remaining 7.3 billion messages are commercial email messages, and eMarketer estimates 96 percent of these are spam. Thanks to commercial messages, the average US emailer receives twice as many emails as he or she sends. Along these same lines, research done last year by the Pew Research Center found that 45 percent of Internet users are frustrated by unwanted junk email.

eMarketer found that 84 percent of Internet users use email. According to Pew, 85 percent use email, mostly to communicate with friends and family. Pew also found that 21 percent of email users are on an emailing list, and 88 percent of email users use it for personal reasons.

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