Spam and Instant Messaging Usage Are a Rising Threat to Email, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – OCTOBER 30, 2003 – The future of email as the dominant form of electronic communication and collaboration is becoming less certain due to rising spam and instant messaging usage, according to a new study from IDC. With more than 500 million business email users worldwide this year and more than 20 billion spam messages expected to be sent daily worldwide by 2006, the impact on business communications is huge.

IDC estimates that spam represents 32% of all external and internal email sent on an average day in North America in 2003, up from 24% in 2002. The rising torrents of spam are reducing email’s usefulness by forcing users and IT staff to expend additional time and energy to identify, delete, and prevent spam from clogging inboxes.

The value of instant messaging’s immediacy and presence awareness is being noticed more widely in the workplace. However, instant messaging is becoming more similar to email in terms of corporate requirements for tracking and archiving of messages.

“To keep email at the collaboration center stage, email proponents will need to do a better job of helping end-users manage email and use other collaborative tools in conjunction with email,” said Mark Levitt, research vice president for Collaborative Computing at IDC.

This fifth annual study, Worldwide Email Usage Forecast, 2003-2007: Spam and Instant Messaging Take a Bite Out of Email (IDC #30195) examines how email is and will be used for business and personal purposes. The report provides a 10+ year perspective (1997-2007) on how email usage is changing and includes trends and analysis on a range of topics, such as emailboxes, users, primary access methods, and volumes of different types of email, including person-to-person emails, spam, and email alerts and notifications. This study focuses on overall email usage trends and does not provide information about individual email companies, products, or services.

To purchase this document, call IDC's sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

About IDC

IDC is the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm in the information technology and telecommunications industries. We analyze and predict technology trends so that our clients can make strategic, fact-based decisions on IT purchases and business strategy. Over 700 IDC analysts in 50 countries provide local expertise and insights on technology markets. Business executives and IT managers have relied for 40 years on our advice to make decisions that contribute to the success of their organizations.

IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. Additional information can be found at

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.