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Let’s look at email usage… Does email mean the same to different generations? Do we use email in the same way, or for the same purposes? A couple of decades on from its mass adoption, email is still one of the most effective methods of business communication and this is why roughly 294 billion emails are sent globally each day. But is this the only purpose email serves? 

We conducted some research here at SMTP2GO to find out what email means to people in different age groups. Having spoken to a number of people from different age groups – ranging from 11 to 78 – we discovered that email is far from dead. The reasons behind giving an email our attention, however, do vary…

The really young ones! (Generation Alpha)

We spoke to Rose, aged 11, who lives just outside of London in the UK. Rose in her first year at secondary school and is a digital native.

“On a personal level, I never use email! Or maybe I’d use it to forward a photo off my phone onto my PC. I do use it for school – especially during lockdown! If I need to reach out to a certain teacher, I’ll email them. I only ever read my emails if I’ve got a package on the way and I need to find out where it is. I use Snapchat to speak to my friends, and Whatsapp to speak to family (they don’t understand Snapchat!). I would never, EVER send an email to a friend.”

Main take away: Email most definitely has its uses, especially in an educational capacity. But sending an email to a friend or peer would be ‘totes’ a social disgrace! 

The young ones (Generation Z)

Jordan, aged 26, is a very busy wedding planner from Yorkshire; he’s also a digital native. 

“Outside of work, I would only use email to, maybe, sign up for something online: for shopping, to get a discount or to subscribe to something. I’d never use email to communicate with friends or family. In a professional capacity, all of my clients contact me via email. I read every single work email sent to me and it’s always good to have things in writing. I use emails as my to-do list, actually! I will send myself an email as a reminder. I empty my inbox on a daily basis and that means that I’ve done all that I need to do for that day. I don’t tend to read emails that aren’t work related – I’ll scan through them every now and again. It’s very, very rare that I use emails on a personal level. Preferred method of communication on a personal level? Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat… Definitely not email!”

Main take away: Email is essential for work as it’s good to have a trail. It can also be repurposed as a to-do list and a daily accountability schedule. But it’s never used for personal communication. 

The not-quite-so-young-anymore ones! (Millennials)

Louise, aged 30, is an Irishwoman living in Madrid and is a dog trainer alongside working here at SMTP2GO. 

“I can’t remember ever writing a personal email! I use it for contacting companies regarding online purchases, bookings, for creating online accounts, but not much more than that. Professionally, I use email for contacting clients, responding to queries, and keeping up-to-date with sales. I do read emails – but it depends entirely on the email and the sender. Nothing annoys me more than frequent emails from a company, particularly one who I haven’t purchased from recently! I generally just mark order confirmation emails as read without actually reading them. Unless an email has a discount code or a reason for me to keep it, I’ll normally just delete it too. For personal communication, I tend to use WhatsApp and the irony of never using email for personal use is that it’s my favorite form of communication for professional use!”

Main take away: Email needs to have a reason to read and is a must for professional purposes. 

The not-so-young-anymore ones! (Generation X)

Lukas, early 40s, lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, and is the Head Of Support here at SMTP2GO. 

“On a personal level, I use email to keep track of online orders! But also, I like to have records of any interactions with companies that you have to deal with – like the power utility and city council. Definitely need to keep those! For work I use it for almost everything. I use it to communicate with customers, vendors, and my team. I don’t read all emails that are sent to me. If it’s a newsletter or something I’ve subscribed to, the vast majority go directly to the bin…unread. It’s rare to get enticed into opening those emails and the few times I have, I’ve questioned the point or value of the message. I do like email as it’s a great way to record what I’ve requested/written and the response. I can forget things if just told over the phone. At the same time, it’s often faster to deal with something over the phone! I don’t send emails to friends anymore – that’s all instant messaging and the occasional phone call. For the most part, I’m writing email for work reasons.”

Main take away: Email’s a biggie for work but the phone can be faster! 

The really-not-so-young-anymore ones! (Baby Boomers)

David, a retired Quantity Surveyor, is in his 70s and lives in the wilds of North Wales.

“On a personal level, I use email for setting up online accounts such as Asda, Scottish Power, Amazon etc. Being retired, I don’t have the need for using email now. However when working, I used email for correspondence and sending and receiving technical specifications, estimates and quotations. I don’t often check my email these days and I skip offers from online accounts and people who are going to make me a millionaire! For personal communication, I prefer WhatsApp. I find it more user friendly.’

Main take away: On the list of methods of communication, email is at the bottom. 

In conclusion, it seems that email is essential for our professional lives – from keeping us organized to having a digital paper trail –  but not so much for personal usage (unless it’s for shopping and getting discounts).

Am I the only person left in the world who sends chatty ‘catch up’ emails to friends?! Wow, it’s no wonder I’m so popular! 

If we can help you with your emailing needs (professional or personal!), please contact us here.

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