E-mail client market share

I saw this on Volker Weber’s blog today and recalled a similar study last year which sparked a bit of a debate. Overall, I don’t get the point of surveys like this. The method of surveying is fundamentally flawed. As e-mail clients get better at blocking the loading of remote images, and users get more aware of the consequences, the results will be showing not the most popular e-mail clients but clients owned by people who are either prepared to load the images or using e-mail clients which don’t block them.

Furthermore, people rarely have just one e-mail client now… you’ll probably have one at work, one for personal use, and one on a mobile device. So if someone opens a survey e-mail on an iPhone, it doesn’t mean they don’t use another e-mail client in other situations.

It’s likely that these survey e-mails register as spam, so their rate of delivery to business-based mail boxes is very low. A colleague noted that Lotus Notes was nowhere to be seen in the results (and therefore less than 1%) – but this can easily be explained by the same reasons I went through last year. You’ll also note that BlackBerry doesn’t feature – RIM’s market share may be falling, but it’s still large enough to expect them to appear in the results. Maybe it’s done just so they add provide a link to their analytical tools.


  1. Great analysis… I use Outlook 2010 at work, Gmail at home, and Mailbox on my iPhone (used to use Mail.app before Mailbox came around).

    I think the measurement of these clients is definitely not telling the whole story, but it does at least tell part of the story and it’s important to have at least *something* to go by other than gut feel, right?

    The biggest shock to me was how many people are using Outlook because I view that as a business tool which comes with Microsoft Office.

    Litmus lists Outlook as the #2 client, which shocked me … but I wonder, is that a combination of Outlook 2010, 2007, and even older?

    The “year ago” survey from CampaignMonitor.com breaks it down further and it starts to make more sense–2000, 2003 and Outlook Express take 7% of the Outlook market.

    I guess the bottom line is it’s good to have some data to rely on instead of just gut feel, but the data can only provide so much insight. There’s so much ‘dark data’ left to bring to light.

    1. I would certainly think that the Outlook data refers to all versions of Outlook – at the moment there are very few enterprise customers who have upgraded to 2013, most are still on 2007 and 2010. Smaller companies upgrade quicker, but once you get above 5,000 users the rollouts are subject to the Office deployment cycles which can be years apart.

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