Consumers in the US are spending more time checking their email on their mobile devices and less time visiting web-based email clients.

"Digital communication has evolved rapidly in the last few years with an ever-increasing number of ways for Internet users to communicate with one another," said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile in a study released on January 20.

In November 2010 visits to web-based email sites declined by six percent year on year.

The amount of time people spent at web-based email destinations also dropped off, falling around 9 percent from November 2009.

The sharpest decline in web-based email usage was seen with people aged between 12-17; the total number of minutes spent engaging with web-based email dropped by 48 percent.

In contrast, email use among people aged 55 and over increased (by around 15 percent in the category of users aged from 55 to 64) during the year.

"From PCs to mobile devices, whether its email, social media, IM or texting, consumers have many ways to communicate and can do so at any time and in any place," said Donovan.

"The decline in web-based email is a byproduct of these shifting dynamics and the increasing availability of on-demand communication options."

While web-based email use is in decline, the proliferation of smartphones in the US has seen mobile email use skyrocket.

Around thirty percent of all mobile subscribers in the US accessed email on their device in November, up 36 percent from the previous year.

Statistics on daily mobile email usage were even higher. 43.5 million users in the US used their mobile device to check their email on a nearly daily basis, a 40 percent increase from November 2009.

"What we have seen in the smartphone era is the rapid acceleration of data consumption, which has helped drive mobile usage across multiple categories including email. In a relatively short period of time, adoption of mobile email has reached 78 percent of the smartphone population, which is very similar to the penetration of web-based email among Internet users," said Donovan.