What we learned from analyzing 5,000 email inboxes

By on September 04th, 2014

One month ago, we released the Inbox Checkup, an inbox analyzer able to give you data on what’s going on in your email inbox. The idea is quite simple. You plug in your email address and we’re able to scan your inbox’ activity during the past 100 days and show you data on the following 8 metrics:

  • Number of received messages
  • Number of sent messages
  • Average Answer rate
  • Average response time
  • Percentage of important messages
  • Average of messages per conversation
  • Number of labels
  • Number of contacts

As people gave their inbox a checkup, we were able to get general data on the state of everyone’s inbox. Here are the averages we found for each metric.


But we also decided to dig a bit deeper and found out some interesting facts. Here are the top 5 things we learnt.

Disclaimer: Before we get into the data, one quick note on the fact that the data might be biased. We shared the tool around us and thus most people who took the checkup come from a startup or technical background.

1. 10% of people receive more than 100 emails per day (that’s more than one email every 6 minutes during working hours)



On average, people receive around 42 emails per day (that’s 4 per working hour). The top 10% though receive more than 100 emails per day and the top 1% receive more than 880 emails per day. That’s more than one per minute during working hours.

Because you’re wondering (at least we were), most people in the top 1% have lower response rates than average. But some of them still manage to keep their head above the water, with impressive response rates (like really).

2. Our professional email life is twice as active as our personal email life


It’s now proven by data, we are twice as active in our professional inboxes as in our personal inboxes. We send and receive double the emails and have conversations with almost twice the contacts in our professional life compared to our personal life. No wonder we come back from work tired! 🙂

This is probably due to the fact that personal communications are now held on more instant messaging apps – like Facebook messenger or Whatsapp – rather than through email, giving personal inboxes a break.

[Tweet “We’re twice more active with email at work than at home – via @Frontapp”]

3. Shared email aliases have a longer average response time


The average response time for all the inboxes we’ve analyzed is 28 hours. However if we split it up between individual email addresses (just like yours) and shared inboxes (like info@yourcompany.com, contact@yourcompany.com, support@yourcompany.com…), the difference is quite impressive.

On average, people will reply in around 27 hours to emails on their individual inboxes. However, replies takes 6 extra hours to be sent out, reaching an average response time of 33 hours for shared inboxes.  Just another hint for us that there’s definitely something to do to help companies manage their inboxes better (promise we didn’t tweak the numbers to get to this conclusion! 🙂 )

[Tweet “On average, we respond to emails in 28h. – via @Frontapp”]

4. There is such a thing as girl power when we talk about email


On average, women receive 50% more emails than men in their inboxes. What’s interesting though is that they have more or less the same percentage of important messages AND they have a higher response rate, of 15% compared to 13% for men.

5. Email is not dead, at least for a lot of people


We’ve talked before about why we truly believe that email is not dead. We know have the data to back it up. We’ve analyzed in details the top 100 email users who gave their inbox a checkup. And there are definitely some power users in there!  But more importantly, people who receive the most emails from a higher number of contacts are also the people who respond more and quicker to their emails. Proving the fact that it is possible to have meaningful conversations through email, you just need a bit of organisation (they also happen to have twice as many labels!).

Wrapping up

Did you expect any of these results? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. We’d be happy to share more cool stats.

And of course, if you’re wondering if you’re an email power user or not, try giving your inbox a checkup!


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12 responses to “What we learned from analyzing 5,000 email inboxes”

  1. Ben Kinnard says:

    I think its interesting looking at the personal vs. professional differences. Personal is mainly used for push marketing and as a reader whilst the communication has moved on as you say. Professional communication still stuck in the stone age though – must be better ways of talking to clients and colleagues surely?

  2. Alex says:

    I don’t think email is going to decline in the next decade or so, yes – social apps provide a slightly more seamless experience, but no business is ready to transition to standalone registration forms.

  3. […] we recently found out that people weren’t taking full advantage of what a shared inbox could do for you. Companies are […]

  4. Great analysis. The only problem I see is that Front only checks online webmail accounts – not POP. What percentage of their respondents use webmail as a catchall, but manage, send and respond from a “private” POP account?

  5. […] begin september gepubliceerd onderzoek over het gebruik van e-mail zorgde voor enige ophef bij bepaalde beroepsgroepen. De constatering […]

  6. […] un par de meses, la agencia FRONT, lanzó « Inbox Checker », un software que analiza buzones de correo, con el fin de realizar una encuesta sobre el uso […]

  7. […] hace unos días un artículo acerca de un estudio dónde habían analizado 5000 direcciones de correo electrónico durante 100 […]

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