TalkTalk predicts the death of email


You might get a billion and a half of them a day in your inbox, but email is actually on the way out, according to TalkTalk.

The broadband provider has gazed into its crystal ball and predicted email will die off within the next 10 years, as younger people who they actually call "digerati" prefer a shorter messaging style like Twittering and instant messaging.

Crystal ball aside, the prediction was actually based on research from the University of Kent. The research found that email was barely used by 51 per cent of the most tech savvy young people two million so-called "First Lifers" who prefer to communicate on the go.

They apparently prefer text messages, IM, Facebook and Twitter. Arguably, when they grow up and get a desk-bound job, they'll find they use email much more frequently.

The research suggested email should be renamed "grey mail" as it's most used by older people. Some 98 per cent of those over 65 use email, while 96 per cent those between 45 and 64 use the apparently old school communications system.

On the other hand, 87 per cent of 25 to 34 year-olds use it, while 86 per cent of 15 to 24 year-olds still hit send from time to time.

So lots of youngsters actually still use email, just not for long, said TalkTalk communications director Mark Schmid.

"Email has been the dominant mode of communication over the internet for the past 20 years, but that doesn't mean it always will be," he said in a statement.

"Increasingly people want to send quick, short messages reaching many people in one go, and there are now better ways of doing that than via email," he added. "Based on the trends we're seeing now, email could well be on its last legs by the end of the next decade."

Or maybe it'll stick around a while...

TechMarketView analyst Philip Carnelley said email wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

"It might be falling off a bit as a consumer medium, because of Facebook and Twitter and texting," he admitted, but said most people still use it for personal reasons, and it remains vital for businesses.

"They're missing the huge amount of email for business reasons," he told IT PRO.

"It's important for businesses because it maintains a record... many legal cases hinge on email," he explained. "They're not going to Twitter for that."