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Users prefer e-mail to instant messaging and SMS, survey finds

Ian Grant

E-mail is the preferred communication medium of two-thirds of people, despite spam, viruses and other online threats, new communication channels and Web 2.0 applications, according to research from Ipsos.

Ipsos, commissioned by Habeas, a secure e-mail service provider, found that 67% of consumers prefer e-mail as their primary communications channel for personal and business use, and 65% are unlikely to change in future.

However, Ipsos found that consumers are worried about spam and viruses, especially on their mobile devices. They also want more control over their online activities.

Ipsos said other forms of communication are much less important than e-mail. Only one in five expected video conferencing to become important, with instant messaging (IM), SMS text messages and web meetings (12%) all getting the nod from fewer than one in seven.

However, younger consumers are more comfortable IM, SMS and social networking, but even they will prefer e-mail for business use over the next five years.

More are worried about e-mail scams (69% compared with 62% in 2007), with one-third unsure about how to identify identify threats. Threats to mobile devices are also worrying more (43% compared with 36% in 2007).

Nearly 90% want more choice over the content and frequency of the e-mails they receive, including options on advertisements, special offers, articles, newsletters, white papers and other specific content options.

They also prefer to do business with organisations that allow them to opt in to receive their content. But daily email messages are as damaging as pop-up advertisements to firms' online reputation.

Eight of 10 said sharing customers' email addresses is a no-no. This is why nearly 60% have two or more personal email addresses, giving a different address to entities they do not trust while maintaining separate accounts for trustworthy sources.





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