Infographic: iPhone Beats Outlook As Top Email Client, As Mobile Overtakes Desktop

What’s the most popular email client out there? The iPhone, which stats says now is used by more people than Outlook. That goes along with a trend of more email now being opened on mobile devices than in desktop clients, though the use of webmail could be happening in both places.

The stats are from Litmus, an email testing and analytics company that examined one billion “opens” of emails sent by its customers in June, then compiled the findings into this infographic:

You can get the infographic yourself here: Email Client Market Share: New Stats.

As you can see, more email is now opened on mobile devices (36%, as of April 2012) than in desktop clients (33%). But it’s not clear whether “webmail” opens might boost either mobile or desktop figures. Webmail opens were 31%, and those opens could happen on either mobile or desktop platforms.

Top Email Clients

As for email clients, the iPhone is seen as leading the pack:

  1. iPhone: 20%
  2. Outlook: 18%
  3. Yahoo: 13%
  4. Apple Mail: 9%
  5. Hotmail: 8%
  6. Apple iPad: 8%
  7. Android: 7%
  8. Gmail: 5%
  9. Web Version: 5%
  10. Windows Live Mail: 3%

Litmus also has a separate site with fresh stats for September 2012 that shows Apple with a marked gain for Apple iPad and Apple Mail, as well as Hotmail. The stats:

  1. iPhone: 21%
  2. Outlook: 18%
  3. Apple iPad: 10%
  4. Apple Mail: 9%
  5. Hotmail: 9%
  6. Yahoo: 8%
  7. Android: 7%
  8. Gmail: 4%
  9. Windows Live Mail: 3%
  10. Yahoo Mail Classic: 2%

Gmail’s Low Ranking

What’s most surprising in the stats is perhaps the low ranking for Gmail, which by some counts has more users than Hotmail.

VentureBeat looked at some of the self-reported figures earlier this year, as well as those from comScore, which found unique visitors to be like this for May 2012:

  • Hotmail: 325 million
  • Yahoo: 298 million
  • Gmail: 289 million

The Email Marketing Reports blog also has an interesting compilation of comparative stats here.

Gmail might be so low in the Litmus stats because it is accessed through other clients, such as the iPhone’s email client or Outlook. comScore figures also only count desktop activity, not smartphone activity. In addition, Litmus only counts email opens in clients that don’t automatically block image loading.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing | Infographics


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  • John Bixby

    I’m floored that Gmail doesn’t account for a larger share of webmail opens. Most people I know use it over Yahoo. Maybe if the pie represented a subsegment of users with at least a college/graduate degree, the market shares would look very different.

  • Richard Austin

    Regarding the gmail issue; gmail doesn’t download images by default, the
    native app in both the iphone and ipad download images by default,
    therefore triggering the open. I wonder how many emails viewed in gmail
    (without downloading images) are being missed because of this.

  • Christopher Drinkut

    This is NOT statistically accurate or useful for generalizing. The billion (wow big number) opens tested are not a universal population. Testing random populations allow you to make generalizations that you are making, not non-random databases of one particular company, which is what this is.

    Meaning, great now we know that among Litmus customers the iPhone is top, but the way this is being presented – as a universal generalization – isn’t accurate.

  • EmailTray

    We produce the increasingly popular smart email client EmailTray for PCs and Android smartphones (and Kindles). It sorts email into 4 Inboxes and rescues good emails from the spam boxes of your various accounts and then lets you delete all the spam from all your accounts at once. What’s great is that hash technology lets EmailTray operate on various devices and still remember whose emails you read and respond to and whose email you consider to be uninteresting or spam. Your screen only shows you if you have important email and it’s so accurate that you won’t worry about needing to check your mail as long as your screen isn’t telling you that something is in your Top Priority Inbox.

  • Danny Sullivan

    This study also found the iPhone high:

    Agreed (and to Richard Austin’s point), this is based on opens, which require an image to load. That means for marketers, if you’re delivering all image emails, you may be OK with iPhone users but are likely missing out on Gmail ones.

  • Christopher Drinkut

    No doubt, the iPhone has a growing and popularly trending email client that millions of people use to view emails through. I think it’s an important point to make. — Agreed.

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