The State of Email Addiction in the United States

Email addiction is widespread across the United States. Our around-the-clock work culture, combined with the addictive nature of smartphones, makes it nearly impossible to resist the temptation of checking our email regularly. What if we miss an urgent work email, an important invite, or a stellar coupon or sale for our favorite store?

Anecdotally, we all know firsthand email addiction is real. But just how bad is it, especially as remote work and e-commerce have both spiked significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic? At TaskHusky, we’re just as addicted to our emails as anyone, so we decided to conduct a survey to find out the state of email addiction in the United States today.

Our results may surprise you. Read on to discover what we found!

The State of Email Addiction in America

infographic detailing American’s email habits

Did you know that the average American spends nearly 2 hours a day simply checking and replying to their emails? That’s a quarter of the workday! And it wasn’t just that statistic that stood out in our results.

The majority of Americans feel significant pressure to reply to emails promptly, with over half of us being so chained to our inboxes that we reply to non-urgent emails in less than 4 hours. Additionally, women are more likely than men to feel this type of pressure, with 60.5% of them reporting so, compared to 51.6% of men.

It’s concerning to think that email addiction is only getting worse for young people, but Millennials report regularly checking their email as young as 20. For Gen Z, the obsession started at 17. What will it be for the next generation?

If nearly a quarter of Americans have lost sleep over a work email, does local culture have anything to do with it? To determine any regional differences in email addiction across the country, we broke down the results we received by state. However, we’ve only reported on results from states we had a significant number of survey responses from. The states not included are Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.

The Most Email Addicted States in America

charts displaying states that check emails the most and least

As it turns out, Maine is the most email-addicted state in America! Folks in Maine check their emails an average of 35 times a day. Compared to the national average of about 14 times a day, that’s pretty high! Other highly email-addicted states include Iowa, Utah, West Virginia, and Michigan, where folks in each state check their email over 20 times a day, both on their phone and computer.

On the flip side, some states are pretty lax when it comes to email checking, particularly in the Pacific Northwest! Both Washington and Oregon (tied with Ohio) top the list for the states that check their email the least often.

Speaking of checking email so many times throughout the day, what exactly does that look like? Next, we asked Americans to report on the strangest times that they refresh their inboxes during the day.

When Do Americans Check Their Email?

graphs depicting when participants check their emails

We’re certainly guilty of checking our inbox at what may be inappropriate times, and it looks like we’re not alone. The vast majority of Americans (75.7%) check their inbox when they’re bored, on vacation (69.3%), and even when watching television (63.5).

It’s no secret that having a hard time unplugging is a common issue across America, which is most likely why we see our emails creeping into our rest time, such as nights, weekends, and even in bed in the morning! As a reminder, to get a good night’s sleep, it’s recommended to avoid screens for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. That email can wait until tomorrow!

Americans and Their Email Inboxes

graphic presenting American’s feelings about emails

Or can it? After all, we all know an inbox obsessive or two. What is it about our inboxes that have us so fixated? Well, 60% of Americans need to have no unread emails in their inbox at any given time. In fact, nearly 50% of us get anxious when we do have unread emails! No wonder we spend so much time trying to get that number down.

For many, the most stressful parts of managing their emails include: crafting a formal response, responding quickly, and keeping an organized inbox. Who knew there was so much that went into email? It takes up a lot of our brain space for many reasons, and clearly, not all of them are the most healthy.

Considering all this talk about email addiction and the space email takes up in our lives, we got to wondering: is there another way?

Meetings Vs. Emails: How Americans Prefer Workplace Communication

data points showcasing participants workplace communication preferences

Well, if you can’t beat them, join them! For all our issues with email addiction, Americans still vastly prefer email as the primary form of communication in the workplace. It’s preferred to all other forms of communication by a landslide. In fact, 62% would prefer meetings took place over email in general.

Have you ever sat in a meeting and thought, “This could have been an email”? Well, on average, you’re sharing that experience with other Americans about 3 times per week. So for all the anxiety email brings us, it looks like it’s here to stay!

Going Forward

We may hate email, but many of us need it if we want to stay on top of our productivity, customer service, and social lives. If you’re finding yourself struggling with email addiction, here are some tips to help:

  1. Set 2-3 specific times during the day when you will check and process your inbox, and leave it be for the rest of the day to focus on other things.
  2. Remove push notifications from your mobile device so that you’re not notified every time you receive an email.
  3. Don’t leave your email open when you’re doing something else on your computer. Just open your inbox at your designated times.

Maintaining healthy inbox checking practices is important for our individual work lives. At TaskHusky, we work closely with eCommerce store owners every day, so we also know the importance of email to grow your business. If you need assistance with growing your eCommerce presence on the Shopify and Shopify Plus platforms, check out our pricing and get a free quote today!

Survey Methodology

We surveyed a total of 2,342 U.S. citizens over the age of 18 in April 2021.

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