Cue User Data Shows Email Problem Worsening

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In 2008 I was griping about 2,433 unread emails in my inbox. Which is nothing. Today it’s up around 7,000, and I declared an email bankruptcy just a few months ago and started fresh.

Cue, a handy mobile app for organizing and searching your online data across a variety of services, released some fascinating anonymized user data this afternoon that confirms what we all know already. We’re getting a lot more emails and reading fewer and fewer of them.

The service lets users auth in to things like email, cloud storage, calendaring, etc., to deal with them all in one place. It gives them an unprecedented amount of data about users’ online activities.

Here’s what the aggregate data from a random selection of Cue users tells us about email habits:

- Average number of email words written per person in 2012: 41,368 (about the size of the Lord of the Flies novel)
- Average messages received in 2012: 5,579
- Average messages sent in 2012: 869

CEO Daniel Gross also tells me (not included on the chart) that users are becoming much slower in responding to emails. The average response time in 2012 was 2.5 days. In 2011 it was 2.2 days, nearly a 14% increase in response time. And if you don’t get a response within 24 hours you may have to wait a while. If a message gets a response there’s a 56% chance it’ll come within an hour, and a whopping 89% likelihood it will come within 24 hours. To get the average out to 2.5 days, the remaining responses come much, much later.

Tuesday is the busiest email day, although Wednesday is the most popular day for calendaring meetings. 11 am is the busiest email time of day.

There’s fun data included as well. :) accounts for over 50% of emoticon usage. :( only gets 4.89%. My personal favorite :-P rings in at just 0.21%.

If a presidential nominee was mentioned last year in an email, it was “Obama” 68% of the time. Romney got just 32% of mentions. Dogs were the most popular animal at 38%, cats got just 32%. And if you click on the most common swearwords, you’ll see which one is most popular.

See all the data here.