We’ve been putting out the YouMail Robocall Index since late 2015. We were the first to publish numbers on the volume of robocalls in the US, as well in different area codes, and in different geographical regions (like states and cities).
Our Robocall Index has become the defacto way people track progress (or lack thereof) in the fight against unwanted robocalls. It’s what allowed the world to really quantify that massive increase in robocalls everyone was feeling in 2019, and then the massive decrease in robocalls we noticed in March and April of 2020 as the pandemic took hold.
But one thing we haven’t ever done is quantify what percentage of phone calls are robocalls. We know it feels like 100% some times, but it’s easy to forget calls from friends, relatives, and colleagues.
So we took a shot at it. We took the portion of our user base where we see all of their phone calls (Android users) and compared the total calls they received versus the ones that YouMail recorded as robocalls.
And, drum roll please….
For 2019, it was 31% –
Almost 1 in 3 calls were robocalls.
And this is across a very sizable base of users and a lot of calls. It’s no wonder it felt like we were being overwhelmed.
Now we have to remember, not every robocall is bad. We don’t mind the reminders that our prescriptions are in, or that we have doctor’s appointment tomorrow, or even that we forgot to pay our credit card by the deadline (eek!). But when you quantify the different types of robocalls like we did, you find that roughly 60% of the robocalls are ones people don’t want (telemarketing or scam calls). Do that math, and suddenly 18% of all calls are unwanted robocalls!
For 2020, that number has actually been around 22%. Since we’ve seen robocalls down about 20% in the first 6 months of the year (from a nearly 58 billion/year pace down to a 46 billion/year pace) and we’ve seen call volumes pick up, this feels right. We’re glass half-full people at YouMail, so we see that as good news – it means that 80% of the calls people get aren’t unwanted robocalls.
That leaves some hope for the phone call!
That said, we don’t necessarily expect it to last, so we should all enjoy the slowdown while it’s there. Just to be on the safe side, download the YouMail app so you’re ready if they return.