PC Email Drop Presages the Desktop's Decline

Yesterday measurement firm comScore released data on the decline in usage of web-based email and the rise of mobile email. This struck me as a reflection of the larger trend and migration from PC to smartphones (and tablets).

Many publishers and metrics firms have argued that mobile and PC are entirely complementary: mobile usage spikes at home and on the weekends; the PC is used during the day and at work.

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I believe, however, as the comScore data seem to indicate, that people will increasingly substitute mobile for some of their PC usage. Beyond email news is another case-in-point. Recently surveys by Handmark and Pew show the degree to which mobile has become an important and even preferred news medium, especially for breaking news. According to the Handmark survey (n=300,000):

Mobile has pulled ahead of the desktop web as the preferred medium to access breaking news information. More than 30% of respondents surveyed feel mobile is the most important medium to access breaking news, compared to 29% who prefer the desktop web, 21% who prefer television, and a mere 3% who chose newspapers as their the most important medium for breaking news.  

There's also considerable evidence that iPad usage is cannibalizing not only netbook and laptop sales but usage of existing laptops.

What's very clear is that digital world is further fragmenting as mobile Internet usage is increasingly mainstreamed. Tablets compound the challenges for marketers and publishers by creating a third category that is neither truly mobile nor a standard PC/laptop.

Welcome to the future. Pass the aspirin.