Home Resources Blog

We just published the latest quarterly results for worldwide email client usage. If you weren’t already aware, we provide a handy report on exactly which email clients your subscribers are using for every campaign you send. We also share this data in a quarterly report showing interesting trends in worldwide email client usage.

The latest stats are the result of analyzing the email client usage of more than 300 million people since the start of the year. Here’s a quick summary of the 10 most popular email clients as of June 2009.

Most popular email clients in June 2009 - click for full report

Head over to the report to see the latest figures, or stick around for a quick discussion of some of the highlights.

iPhone now more popular than Gmail

iPhone

It continues to blow us away just how quickly the iPhone is moving mobile email forward. The iPhone now caters for 5.78% of the email client market, breezing past Gmail to become the 5th most popular email client in the world.

Put another way, iPhone now has more of the email client market than AOL, Lotus Notes, Thunderbird and Entourage combined. That’s pretty incredible considering it’s a mobile device and a relative newcomer compared to the rest of the market.

Thanks to their software update approach within iTunes, iPhone users are also prolific updaters. iPhone OS 1.0 and 2.0 are amongst the fastest shrinking email clients, while iPhone OS 3.0 is by far the fastest growing email client version on the market. We’re hoping to add iPhone support to our email testing suite soon.

It’s also worth noting that our report looks at which email clients are being used to render an email, not necessarily what service powers that email address. As I noted in the last email usage report, our Gmail figures don’t take into account those Gmail users viewing their email in another email client using POP or IMAP access. I regularly check my Gmail account via my iPhone, and I’m clearly not alone.

Webmail providers stagnant

We figured it was a safe assumption that more and more people would be moving from traditional desktop email clients to web-based email clients. While it’s certainly clear many of us are shifting to reading our emails on a mobile device, the same can’t be said for web-based email clients. The market share for both Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail has more or less plateaued over the last six months.

Yahoo! Mail’s share has fallen slightly by 0.03% since January, and Hotmail’s has grown a mere 0.14%. Gmail has grown 0.09% in the same period.

Outlook market share is shrinking

Microsoft Outlook

While Outlook 2007 holds its spot as the fourth fastest growing email client on the market, older versions are declining at a faster rate. Over the last 6 months, Outlook 2007 has taken an additional 1.57% of the market. In the same time frame, Outlook 2000 and 2003 have given up 2.28% of the market, making an overall loss of 0.71%.

For many reasons, it will be very interesting to watch how fast Outlook 2010 is adopted when it’s released to the public some time next year.

As always, these numbers are interesting guides on where your email design priorities lay, but we still see huge variations in usage from list to list. We recommend using the personalized email client reports provided for each campaign you send to make sure you’re focusing on the email clients that count.

We’re currently working on a big update to our CSS in Email Guide, which will include a number of key mobile email clients and make it easier to focus on the more popular email clients.

  • Dan Spring

    Great read – thank you

  • Karl

    Years waiting and now it seems mobile is making a stand only if it is via Apple for now.

  • Tod Maffin

    Not a very helpful report, really.

    Gmail scores very low on your study. But this is, as your own fine print notes, owing to the fact that Gmail does not display images by default (unlike Outlook and the email programs which scored highly).

    Those images are how this study tracked “opens.”

    Thus, this is a pretty flawed study.

    It should be more accurately described as a study of email clients which auto-open images, not of all email clients. In this case, there’s a huge difference in results.

  • Jake Holman

    Although it should be obvious, bear in mind this is an Email Client study and not an Email Provider study – i.e. Gmail Client Share may be less than iPhone Client share, but that doesn’t represent Gmail Apps or people routing their Gmail inboxes through their iPhones.

  • George

    I’m surprised you don’t mention an obvious bias present in these data. These data represent which email clients are used by those who actually read/open emails sent from Campaign Monitor, in other words, the ones who load the images in them.

    It’s obvious to me that those who have an iPhone are more likely to be checking their email often, and are also more likely to open the type of emails that are sent out by Campaign Monitor’s systems.

    You could consider this a sort of self-selection bias. iPhone users have a different attitude towards “being connected” and seeing emails as they were intended to be rendered than the general population of email readers.

    Then again, if there’s a segment of the email-reading population that email designers should be concerned about, it’s the ones who actually open the emails and load the images.

    Regardless, Campaign Monitor should note what these data actually mean, and that there may be slight biases present in them. These data represent Email Client Popularity Among Those Who Open Emails from Campaign Monitor’s Systems, not Email Client Popularity in general.

  • David Greiner

    Thanks for the great comments everybody.

    @Tod – You’re 100% right that these results are slightly skewed in the iPhone’s favor because it loads images by default. We try to make that clear in the report itself.

    @Jake – That’s exactly right, this report addresses email client rendering market share, not the popularity of the underlying services powering the emails themselves. As I mentioned in the post, I often open up my Gmail emails on the iPhone. As email designers, we’re most concerned with what our subscribers are opening their emails on, not the actual provider of the address.

    @George – We don’t count duplicate opens for any particular individual using a particular client, so the frequency with which an email client is used doesn’t impact this report. Also, this report analyzed the usage of more than 300 million email addresses. While our software is built for a savvy designer audience, these designers service clients that have subscribers that represent a much more general sample of email users.

  • Jonathan

    I just want to congratulate you on these figures. Enlightening reading. And I want to balance the criticism voiced here.

    It is patently obvious to anyone who reads the report that these are statistics on “opens” and obviously only from Campaign Monitor – and we all know what this means. CM are generously sharing this information with everyone, it is up to us to interpret the figures.

    That said, any stats based on 300 million opens are pretty good in my book.

    But where oh where has Pegasus gone? ;-)

  • Sander

    Nice linkbait. Useless stats. Fanboi (sic) much? Send us all up the creek with your misleading info, why don’t you?!?

    The only valid conclusion you can draw is “among the clients where our tracking methodology actually works (ie those who do not block images by default) we see that the iPhone is gaining steam.” That’s it, and that’s all.

    Blackberry is not listed because client does not support the tracking method.
    Gmail is grossly undermeasured without even a *hint* at corrected numbers?
    Yet, still you have the nerve to tout the iPhone client stats?

    Comscore stats for Jan 09 said gmail got 1/3 times the unique visitors of yahoo, and 2/3 of hotmail/live. (19.6MM, 43.5MM, 91.9MM) AOL Mail had 46.6MM uniques.

    Knowing this, and looking at your stats, tell me you don’t think the results are extremely fishy (AOL does not even show up in the top 10 anymore, all those people must have switched to the iPhone client to check their email?).

    Based your traffic, you should have a nice grasp on the number of gmail recipients vs the number that opens the email sent. I wonder if that percentage is the same as yahoo or hotmail. My guess would be it’s not. This type of contextual information is needed to put your tallies and conclusions in perspective. Someone might even be able to calculate a reasonable “open rate correction factor” for clients that block images by default, like gmail, based on open percentages across other web clients for large campaigns.

    As it is the numbers are rather useless and baseless. Shamefully so I suspect…

    Sander

    PS What percentage clicks on the link to see the the email “as a web page”?
    How are the latter accounted for in your stats? Undetectable or assigned
    to google/yahoo/hotmail is recipient was in g/y/h domain?

  • David Greiner

    @Sander, thanks for the constructive (and not so constructive) comments. Thought I’d chime in and clarify a few of your points.

    Gmail is grossly undermeasured without even a *hint* at corrected numbers?

    You might have overlooked it, but there is a clear explanation in both this blog post and the report itself that the Gmail numbers don’t take into account those using Gmail with other email clients with POP/IMAP or the impact of image blocking. We’re not trying to mislead anyone here, just reporting the numbers as they are.

    Comscore stats for Jan 09 said gmail got 1/3 times the unique visitors of yahoo, and 2/3 of hotmail/live. (19.6MM, 43.5MM, 91.9MM) AOL Mail had 46.6MM uniques.

    Like I said, we are only reporting the numbers as we see them. While you’re making lots of assumptions in your own comments, please keep in mind that both Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail all block images by default, so any comparison made across each webmail provider is not skewed by image blocking.

    Based your traffic, you should have a nice grasp on the number of gmail recipients vs the number that opens the email sent. I wonder if that percentage is the same as yahoo or hotmail. My guess would be it’s not

    You guessed wrong. What could you possibly be basing that assumption on? Please remember that this report is about rendering, it has nothing to do with what email service is most popular. The purpose of this report is to help email designers decide which email clients to focus on when testing their designs. We’re not doing any guessing here, just reporting what the numbers show.

    PS What percentage clicks on the link to see the the email “as a web page”? How are the latter accounted for in your stats? Undetectable or assigned to google/yahoo/hotmail is recipient was in g/y/h domain?

    Right now we’re only looking at image opens, so this would appear as undetectable. We’re considering extending the email client tracking to look at link clicks when an open hasn’t been recorded, and using the referrer domain to give credit to the webmail provider the click originated in. Of course, this wouldn’t work or mobile email clients, but would provide additional data for all major web-based email providers.

    Like we say in the report, this is not an exact science and we openly admit that the combination of image blocking and certain email clients not providing a unique user-agent means the data isn’t perfect. The insinuation that we’re favoring a specific email provider or trying to mislead people is actually a little offensive to be honest. We’re merely publishing the results we get in an effort to make the tricky job of an email designer a little easier.

  • Michael Ewins

    Blackberry doesn’t feature in your list. Is that again because of the image loading?

  • lily

    Today I get a new online shop to sell the Abercrombie & Fitch brand products,include skirts,shorts,outwears,totes,polos and so on. All are cheap now,click here to take a look with our products ,thank you!

  • Bill Bartmann

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  • bob

    I think sub heading “iPhone now more popular than Gmail” is grossly misleading and you know it judging by your replies to the comments here.

    Come on, with that heading, you’re not “only reporting the numbers as we see them”

    “please keep in mind that both Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail all block images by default”

    Yes, but the ‘show images’ link/button in yahoo, gmail, and hotmail is only a click away when viewing an email. I click them quite a few times depending on whether I trust the email sender or not.

    “We’re merely publishing the results we get in an effort to make the tricky job of an email designer a little easier.”

    So no Apple fanboyism at all huh? … ok then … just giving you benefit of the doubt ;P

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
Straight to your inbox

Get the best email and digital marketing content delivered.

Join 250,000 in-the-know marketers and get the latest marketing tips, tactics, and news right in your inbox.

Subscribe

See why 200,000 companies worldwide love Campaign Monitor.

From Australia to Zimbabwe, and everywhere in between, companies count on Campaign Monitor for email campaigns that boost the bottom line.

Get started for free