Email: is it still the most popular way for organisations to communicate?



In our article posted just over two years ago “Email: still the most popular way for organisations to communicate”, we took a look at email usage and observed that it was as popular as ever, despite a growing number of alternatives. Have these alternatives had an impact on its use since then, or is email still able to hold its own, despite the increasing competition?

In the ever-evolving landscape of communication email has stood the test of time. Born in the early days of the internet, email emerged as a revolutionary tool, transforming the way people interacted and exchanged information.

Its journey began in the 1960s with primitive forms of electronic messaging, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that email truly began to flourish, becoming a ubiquitous feature of both personal and professional communication. Its simplicity, speed, and asynchronous nature (i.e. where one person provides information, and then there can be a time lag before the recipient considers the information and then responds) made it an instant hit, quickly displacing traditional mail and fax machines.

Email’s dominance has persisted through the rise of social media, messaging apps, and other digital communication platforms. Its versatility has allowed it to adapt to changing needs and technologies, integrating seamlessly with smartphones, tablets, and other devices.

Despite the emergence of newer, trendier communication tools, email continues to underpin modern communication. Its widespread use in business, academia, government and everyday life ensures its relevance in an increasingly digital world.

But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of email’s enduring dominance is its resilience. Despite countless predictions of its demise, email continues to thrive, evolving with the times while maintaining its core functionality. From humble beginnings to global ubiquity, email stands as a testament to the enduring power of simple, effective communication.




Changes in email usage compared to the “new communication platforms” over the last three years


Over the last three years (2021-2024), the landscape of digital communication has continued to evolve, and email usage has adapted in response to the emergence of new alternatives. Here’s some examples of how email usage has changed during this period:

1. Integration with New Platforms: Email has adapted by integrating with newer communication platforms. Many social media platforms, messaging apps, and collaboration tools offer email notifications and integration, allowing users to receive updates and notifications directly in their email inbox. This integration has helped email remain relevant by becoming part of the users’ broader digital communication ecosystem.
2. Shift Towards Mobile Usage: Like other communication platforms, email has seen a significant increase in mobile usage. With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, more people are accessing their email on the go. Email providers have responded by optimising their services for mobile devices, offering responsive design, dedicated mobile apps, and features tailored to the mobile experience.
3. Focus on Productivity and Efficiency: In the face of competition from newer communication platforms, email has emphasised its strengths in productivity and efficiency. Many email providers have introduced features such as AI-powered email parsing (see for example our range of AI products, Pulse, originally developed for SnP brokers and now available to Chartering brokers), smart replies, and email scheduling to help users manage their inbox more effectively. These features aim to streamline the email experience and make it more competitive with newer alternatives.



4. Privacy and Security Concerns: With growing concerns about privacy and security in digital communication, email providers have placed a greater emphasis on protecting user data. End-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and enhanced security measures have been implemented to safeguard email communication against hacking, phishing, and other cyber threats. These efforts aim to enhance trust in email as a secure means of communication compared to newer alternatives that may face similar security challenges.
5. Adaptation to Remote Work: The rise of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased reliance on email as a communication tool for professional purposes. Email has proven to be a reliable channel for formal communication, document sharing, and collaboration among remote teams. Email providers have introduced features to support remote work, such as integration with productivity tools, collaboration platforms, and video conferencing services.

Overall, while email usage has evolved in response to the emergence of new communication alternatives, it has maintained its relevance by adapting to changing user preferences, technological advancements, and the evolving digital landscape. By integrating with new platforms, emphasising productivity and efficiency, addressing privacy and security concerns, and supporting remote work, email continues to be a vital tool for communication in the modern world.



Global email usage trends


User Growth: The number of email users has been steadily increasing. In 2021, it was around 3.9 billion, and by 2027, it’s projected to reach 4.85 billion, which is over half of the global population [Oberlo].

Email Volume: The volume of emails sent and received daily has also been on the rise. In 2021, it was around 319.6 billion, and by 2026, it’s expected to reach 392.5 billion [Mailbutler].

Mobile Usage: Mobile devices are becoming increasingly dominant for checking emails. By 2023, around 59% of millennials and 67% of Gen Z reported using email on their smartphones. Overall, 41% of all email views globally happen on mobile devices, 39% from desktop computers with the remaining 20% from tablets and other devices [Mailbutler].

Other Trends: Probably resulting from the high volume, many users struggle with inbox overload, with 40% reporting at least 50 unread emails [Mailbutler]. The average employee spends 57% of their time communicating and 8.8 hours a week are spent on email by the heaviest email users (According to Microsoft) whilst, on average, professionals check their email 15 times per day, according to HBR. For some tips on how to alleviate this challenge see our article “How to reduce email noise”.


These trends suggest that email remains a critical communication tool, with continued growth and adaptation to mobile usage patterns.



Upcoming trends in communication technology and the impact these will have on email usage

The communication landscape is poised for exciting changes with a number of upcoming trends on the horizon which include:


Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP): AI and NLP technologies are expected to play a significant role in enhancing communication tools by enabling features such as smart assistants, automated responses, and predictive analytics.
• Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR have the potential to revolutionise communication by creating immersive and interactive experiences, particularly in areas like virtual meetings, training sessions, and remote collaboration.
• Internet of Things (IoT): The IoT will lead to the proliferation of connected devices, enabling seamless communication between objects, sensors, and systems. This could result in new opportunities for email integration, such as automated alerts and notifications triggered by IoT devices.
• Blockchain Technology: Blockchain has the potential to improve security, transparency, and trust in communication by providing decentralised and tamper-resistant platforms for messaging, data sharing, and digital identity management.



These trends are likely to impact email usage in several ways:

• Integration with Emerging Technologies: Email providers may integrate emerging technologies like AI, AR, and IoT to enhance the functionality and user experience of email platforms. This could include AI-powered email sorting, AR-enhanced email content, and IoT-triggered email notifications. Read about how we incorporate AI into our products for both SnP and Chartering Brokers with Pulse.
• Personalisation and Automation: AI and NLP technologies could enable more sophisticated personalisation and automation capabilities in email marketing and communication. This could lead to more targeted and relevant email content, resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates.
• Enhanced Security and Privacy: Blockchain technology could be leveraged to improve the security and privacy of email communication by enabling encrypted messaging, decentralised storage, and verification of sender identities.

Despite the potential impact of these emerging trends, email is likely to remain a relevant and indispensable communication tool for the following reasons:

• Ubiquity and Accessibility: Email is widely adopted across different demographics, industries, and regions, making it a universal communication medium that is accessible to virtually everyone with an internet connection.
• Versatility and Flexibility: Email is a versatile and flexible platform that supports various types of communication, including text, images, documents, and multimedia content. It can be used for both personal and professional communication, as well as marketing, customer support, and collaboration.
• Established Infrastructure and Standards: Email has a well-established infrastructure and standardised protocols (e.g., SMTP, IMAP, POP) that ensure interoperability and reliability across different email providers and clients.

In summary, while emerging communication technologies are likely to shape the future of digital communication, email is expected to maintain its relevance alongside evolving communication tools. By embracing innovation, integrating with emerging technologies, and adapting to changing user needs, email will continue to serve as a fundamental and indispensable communication channel in the digital age.




In today’s fast-paced digital world, communication is the lifeblood of every endeavour, personal or professional and while various platforms vie for our attention, email remains at the centre of modern communication. Let’s consider its key points and explore its significance amidst a plethora of communication tools.

1. Ubiquity and Accessibility: One of the foremost advantages of email is its ubiquity. Almost everyone has an email address, making it a universal mode of communication. Its accessibility across devices ensures seamless interaction regardless of location or time zone.
2. Formality and Professionalism: Email’s structured format lends itself well to formal and professional communication. It allows for detailed messages, attachments, and a sense of formality suitable for business correspondence.
3. Documentation and Archiving: Unlike verbal communication, email provides a tangible record of conversations. This documentation aspect is invaluable for tracking discussions, referencing agreements, and maintaining a clear trail of communication.
4. Personalisation and Customisation: Email offers a degree of personalisation through customisable templates, signatures, and formatting options. This allows individuals and businesses to tailor their messages according to recipient preferences and branding guidelines.

Choosing the Right Tool for the Context

While email remains a stalwart in communication, it’s essential to recognise that it’s not always the best tool for every situation. Context matters. For quick exchanges or urgent matters, instant messaging platforms like Microsoft Teams might be more efficient while video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype (and Teams) excel in fostering real-time collaboration and face-to-face interactions. For an example of how CompassAir accommodates the need for instant messaging, we have developed “Discussions”, a chat-like feature that enables our users to communicate with each other without adding to “email noise”. This feature not only delivers the ability to use what will be recognised as “normal instant messaging”, it also allows members of a team to internally discuss individual emails, with a permanent record sitting “behind” the message.


Looking Ahead


As we look into the future, the role of email in communication is poised to evolve further. Integration with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence promises smarter email management, improved spam filtering, and enhanced productivity features. Moreover, the convergence of communication platforms might blur the lines between email, instant messaging, and social media, offering users a seamless and unified experience.

In conclusion, while email remains a cornerstone in today’s communication landscape, its effectiveness hinges on choosing the right tool for the task at hand. As technology continues to advance, embracing innovation while leveraging the strengths of traditional mediums like email will be key to fostering efficient and meaningful communication in the years to come.



A few words about CompassAir

Creating solutions for the global maritime sector, CompassAir develops state of the art messaging and business application software designed to maximise ROI. Our software is used across the sector, including by Sale and Purchase brokers (S&P/SnP), Chartering brokers, Owners, Managers and Operators.


Through its shipping and shipbroking clients, ranging from recognised World leaders through to the smallest, most dynamic independent companies, CompassAir has a significant presence in the major maritime centres throughout Europe, the US and Asia.


Our flagship solution is designed to simplify collaboration for teams within and across continents, allowing access to group mailboxes at astounding speed using tools that remove the stress from handling thousands of emails a day. It can be cloud based or on premise. To find out more contact If you are new to shipping, or just want to find out more about this exciting and challenging sector, the CompassAir Shipping Guide might prove to be an interesting read.


Contact us for more information or a short demonstration on how CompassAir can benefit your business, and find out how we can help your teams improve collaboration and increase productivity.