Although I’ve heard a lot lately about the possibility of email declining due to the increasing use of social media, it seems as though email usage might actually be on the increase. The Radicati Group’s “Email Statistic Report, 2012-2016” estimates that email usage will increase from 3.3 billion email accounts in 2012 to 4.3 billion accounts by the end of 2016, a growth rate of 6% per year.
This makes sense when you consider the number of new devices being added, and the simplicity of email as an asynchronous communication method.
Like Facebook taking centre stage in the social media world, email is the fall-back method of communication. Pretty much everyone you know has an email account, to the extent that email addresses are often used now as User IDs. So you can safely say “I’ll send you an email”, and you know it’ll be received.
In addition, even though some companies have made efforts to remove email completely, whatever technology they replace it with will still have to deal with unstructured (and possibly unsolicited), communication from outside of the company, meaning they’re just moving the “how do I deal with this” problem to another medium.
In other cases, email users, notably Alan Lepofsky here, have blogged about how they now use their email accounts to collate information from external sources, so that they get everything they need in one place.
Given the scope of email in our lives at present, it’s going to take an awful lot of coordinated effort to replace it with something else!