Survey: All generations favor email for workplace communication

Though messaging apps are deemed more fun and casual, men and women alike list email as their first option, regardless of their age group.

Brand managers hoping to reach people at their work desks favor one tool for doing it: email.

A new study by Spike shows that 77% of U.S. workers prefer email, and a mere 23% choose messaging apps, although all those surveyed use both. Moreover, email leads among all age groups, although younger people are slightly less in favor of it.

The survey of 1,000 Americans shows that 31% of 18- to 34-year-olds prefer email, as do 48% of those in the 35–65 age range and 35% of those age 55 and older.

After email, the youngest cohort is most likely to like messaging (26%) and phone calls (23%). The oldest workers are most apt to like phone calls (29%). Oddly, they are most prone to favoring videoconferencing, although those percentages are all in the single digits.

Males are more likely than females to prefer email, by 44% to 34%. Still, females place email first.

Why do people like email? For 52%, it’s because email allows them to read and respond whenever they want. Still, 26% like messaging apps for the same reason.

In addition, 43% say messaging is more immediate, versus 29% for email. Another 33% praise messaging as less formal and 28% as more fun, beating email in both instances.

Email also ranks as the most important communication tool use by Americans at work, cited by 40%. Other choices are phone calls (19%), direct conversation (17%) and videoconferencing (5%).

The takeaway is clear: B2B messages will most likely be seen—by all groups—when delivered by email.

Meanwhile, everyone is tired of multiple apps. A whopping 84% say switching between apps slows productivity, and 71% would use an app that combines all emails and messaging.

The respondents offer these reasons for their reluctance to switch between communication and collaboration tools. They say such toggling:

  • Creates mixed communication (21%)
  • Makes it harder to find information (21%)
  • Slows down productivity (18%)
  • Wastes a lot of time (17%)
  • Is a major distraction (13%)

A version of this post first ran on MediaPost.

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