While composing email on mobile phones is still a tricky mire of text prediction and flawed virtual keyboards, email reading is quickly shifting away from the desktop.

According to data from the US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q4 2013 from Movable Ink, way more than half of all email — a full 65 percent — is now being accessed via mobile devices in the U.S.

That’s up relatively steeply from just 61 percent for the third quarter of 2013.

Of the 65 percent of email that gets opened on mobile gadgets, smartphones take home the lion’s share of messages. Around 16 percent of messages get opened on tablets — up one percent quarter over quarter.

These messages don’t get more than a few seconds of readers’ attention, but if your intended recipient is using an iPhone, your chances are a bit better. About 38 percent of iPhone users spent 15 seconds or more viewing each message, with 35 percent of Android smartphone owners reporting spending 15 seconds or longer on each message.

“This quarter’s report shows that we are in the midst of a mobile takeover,” said Movable Ink cofounder and CEO Vivek Sharma in a statement on the news.

“In the new year, we expect marketers to continue to place high priority on mobile optimization, which will allow them to better engage consumers who are on-the-go with relevant, real-time offers.”

Indeed, email open rates for commercial email have surged since email-reading began shifting toward mobile devices. Thinking mobile-first for email, especially for brands, agencies, and marketers, is absolutely essential.

“As more people access email on the go, there is a higher probability that marketers will reach them,” said Appboy marketing director Cezary Pietrzak in a recent op-ed on VentureBeat. “Despite its lack of novelty, email is still massively effective. … It’s the only non-native messaging format that can bring an audience back into a mobile app. This is a big selling point for mobile marketers, who typically lose 76 percent of their users after three months.”

All this adds up to an email marketing renaissance.

“The day when more people open and respond to email in the palm of their hand than while at their desks is rapidly approaching and represents nothing less than a sea change for email marketers,” reads an IBM whitepaper on the subject. “Email marketers have a huge opportunity to reach consumers anywhere, any time, on their mobile devices.”

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.