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Why Hasn't He/she Replied Yet?


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A new study identifies factors that affect email response time.

Researchers at the University of Southern California and Yahoo! Labs have determined that email response times depend on a broad range of factors.

Credit: iStock

Researchers at the University of Southern California and Yahoo! Labs found email responses depend on a variety of factors, including age, platform, volume, and timing. They found 90 percent of people respond within a day or two of receiving an email to which they plan to respond.

The researchers note the most likely reply time is two minutes, and half of responders will reply in just under an hour. The research also found younger people reply faster, but write shorter replies. Teens had an average response time of 13 minutes, while young adults age 20-35 took an average of 16 minutes to respond, and 35- to 50-year-olds responded in an average of 24 minutes.

The platform also is an important indicator of response time, as laptop users will take almost twice as long to respond those on a mobile phone.

The researchers also found emails with only five words are the most common, and more than half of email replies are less than 43 words, with only 30 percent of email replies being longer than 100 words.

They also note as email loads increase, users reply to a decreasing fraction of emails.

From USC News
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