If you search for “the death of email” on the Internet, you might be surprised by the number of articles on the subject. Why are so many people talking about it? Is this 40-year-old method of communication really under threat from social media? Does it mean that marketers will spend less on email marketing solutions? We paid close attention to these questions and many more when building the Forrester Research Email Marketing Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (US). We believe that spending on email marketing solutions will continue to grow. Why? We will see:

1. An increase in the number of active email users. Our email address is our online address, and it offers us universal interoperability. As per our forecast, we expect the number of active email users in the US to grow to 227 million by 2017.

2. The evolution of email clients. Over the past 40 years, email clients have evolved from text-based to desktop to web-based to mobile clients. As per our forecast, 178 million users —78% of all US active email users — will also access their emails through mobile email clients by 2017.

3. Email’s integration with social media. Email marketers have started leveraging a combination of email and social media marketing to get the best results. They are providing links to share via social media in their email messages and are encouraging their social media followers to subscribe to their email lists.

4. An increase in content consumption. User appetite for new content continues to increase. People want to be more informed and appear more knowledgeable, resulting in an increase in the number of subscriptions to newsletters and alerts containing relevant content. Many users treat their email inbox as their universal notification center.

5. The growth of email marketing automation. Email marketers are increasingly leveraging trigger-based programs to maintain engagement with their users. Marketers are launching sophisticated acquisition and retention email marketing campaigns in the following industries: travel and hospitality; retail; media; financial services (banking, credit cards, insurance); consumer products; business services; and personal healthcare.

In summary, we believe that the overall volume of email will continue to grow over the next five years — and, therefore, so will spending on email marketing solutions. We would love to hear your thoughts on the future of email and email marketing, so please comment below.