Email viewing habits: Have they changed?


Email is still the strongest web-based activity around the world. The number of email users currently stands at 3.8 billion users up from 2.9 billion users in 2010. The email analytics statistics provided by a company that tests and tracks email campaigns known as Litmus gives us interesting insights into the email viewing habits. On the other hand, we cannot ignore the impact of technology especially mobile phones and other devices.. Most people nowadays are equipped with various internet-enabled devices such as iPads and smartphones. These have greatly contributed to the changes in our email-viewing habits.

Email opens

Although Outlook still stands out as king, Webmail has been declining sharply whereas Google chrome has been gaining share rapidly. Moreover, the statistics reveal that the sharp increase in use of mobile devices to open and read email has cut into the share of Webmail severely. The use of mobile devices has jumped from just 7% in July 2010 to 15% in July 2011 supports this fact. The use of desktop has dropped slightly from 55% to 53%. Webmail opens were at 32% down from 38%.

Client share

Statistics about client shares show that Outlook enjoys the biggest share at 37% followed by Hotmail which is a distant second with 11%. Yahoo Mail and iPhone come in third at 10%, the iPhone fourth at 8% while Gmail accounts for 4% only. AOL clings to just 1% of all email opens and 2% of users fall under others.


However, the case is quite different when it comes to adoption because Gmail adoption is increasing rapidly. Gmail adoption has rocketed from just 15% to 30% and Yahoo mail experienced a sharp decline frob 44% to 31%. Moreover, Hotmail adoption stood at 33% which is a slight decline from 39%.

Web browser shares have also changed considerably. For instance, the use of safari reduced sharply from 25% to just 8%. Although the use of Chrome was negligible in 2010 it accounted for 30% of all users in 2011. Firefox had dropped from 35% to 32% while Internet Explorer experienced a sharper decline from 395 in 2010 to 29% in 2011.

Desktop usage

The numbers show that Outlook is still well entrenched because it has only dropped from 74% in 2010 to 72% in 2011. Although there are new updates of Outlook, the older versions are the most used. Apple Mail remains unchanged with usage standing at 15% in both years. Thunderbird dropped from 1% to 0.07% opens while Post Box which is fairly new is up from 0.006% in June 2010 to 0.03% in June 2011.

Although the impact of mobile email on the industry cannot be ignored, desktop users have proven to be quite durable. Our viewing habits have changed remarkably; however, email users whether at home, on the go, or at work are only increasing.



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Daniel Doherty

I am the founder of MerlinFX. The reason I get out of bed every day is that I love helping businesses achieve their outcomes. I do this through websites, coaching, consulting and training videos for our web client portal. My aim is to create Online Wizards.

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