Here’s What We Learned After Tracking 17 Billion Email Opens [Infographic]

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Over the course of the past year, we’ve analyzed over 17 billion email opens to see where subscribers read emails. And while a few things stayed the same, we saw plenty of movement this year in terms of email client popularity. In our 2016 Email Market Share infographic, we take a look at mobile, webmail, and desktop opens over the course of the year, providing insights about why these changes occurred and how they may affect your email campaigns.

To get a full, in-depth picture of all of the major innovations from the past year, read the 2017 State of Email Report.

Check out the infographic here, or read the transcription below it.

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2016 Email Client Market Share: Transcript

We tracked over 17 billion email opens in 2016 to determine where subscribers are reading emails. Here’s what we found…

TOP EMAIL CLIENTS

The top 10 most popular email clients of 2016

  1. iPhone, 33%
  2. Gmail, 20%
  3. iPad, 13%
  4. Android, 9%
  5. Apple Mail, 7%
  6. Outlook, 6%
  7. Outlook.com, 5%
  8. Yahoo! Mail, 2%
  9. Windows Mail, 1%
  10. Windows Live Mail, 1%

OPENS BY ENVIRONMENT

While mobile remained dominant, this year did see some oscillations for mobile, webmail, and desktop.

MOBILE OPENS

The “year of mobile” has come and gone—we’re now in a mobile era, with mobile representing 54% of all email opens.

Mobile stayed relatively steady throughout 2016, oscillating a couple of percentage points at most. However, market share did shift among the top mobile email clients:

  • iPhone: Increased to 33%
  • iPad: Increased to 13%
  • Android: Decreased to 9%

iOS represents 46% of total market share, which is great news for email developers since HTML and CSS are well-supported.

WEBMAIL OPENS

Webmail increased overall this year, growing from 27% to 30% of all email opens. This growth was largely driven by increased activity from Gmail.

  • Gmail: Increased to 20%
  • Yahoo! Mail: Decreased to 2%
  • Outlook.com: Increased to 5%
  • Windows Live Mail: Increased to 1%

Mobile has dominated market share for several years now, but the drop in desktop (and subsequent rise in webmail) appears to be driven largely by growth in Gmail opens. This may be the result of larger companies moving to cloud-based solutions, rather than upgrading older versions of Outlook.

DESKTOP OPENS

Desktop opens decreased overall in 2016, ending the year at 16%.

  • Apple Mail: Held at 7%
  • Outlook: Dropped to 6%
  • Windows Mail: Increased to 1%

Though Outlook’s popularity continues to decline, it can cause some headaches for email marketers depending on what version your subscribers are using. Outlook 2010 remains the most popular of the Outlook versions at 30% of all Outlook opens, while Outlook 2013 takes 24% of all opens. Outlook 2016 for Windows, released in September 2015, makes up 21% of all Outlook opens.

Outlook is a notorious offender for rendering quirks, but we’re teaming up with Microsoft to help them prioritize rendering issues faster. If you’d like to report an Outlook bug, shoot us an email: outlook@litmus.com.

YEAR IN REVIEW

Month-by-month highlights and email client news from 2016

January

Mobile began the year with 54% of all email opens, while webmail began the year at 27% and desktop at 19%.

February

Mobile opens climb back to 55%. Webmail opens decrease from 27% to 26% of opens, and desktop opens remain the same.

Microsoft finished rolling out its replacement of Outlook.com rendering engine with the infrastructure of Outlook 365.

March

Mobile, webmail, and desktop hold their positions at 55%, 26%, and 19%, respectively.

April

Mobile opens rose to 56%, representing a peak for mobile market share and the longest sustained growth after the holiday season, which tends to give momentum to mobile growth. Windows Mail knocks Thunderbird out of the top 10 email clients.

Gmail introduces the concept of glanceable newsletters in their Inbox by Gmail application.

May

Desktop opens increased to 20%, corresponding with a jump in Outlook opens. Webmail opens increased to 26%, and mobile opens dropped for the first time since January, to 54%. Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail trade the #9 and #10 spots this month.

June

Lots of webmail movement! Gmail increases to 16% and Outlook.com jumps up to 4%—the highest since May 2015. Outlook.com trades places with Yahoo! Mail, moving up to #7 on the top 10 list.

July

Mobile opens jumped back up to 56%, desktop opens decreased to 17%, and webmail opens held at 27%. Android increased to 10% total market share.

August

In August, mobile opens dropped back down to 55%, desktop opens decreased to 18%, and webmail opens increased to 28%.

Gmail now supports display: none, a CSS property that can hide specific elements of your email.

September

September rocked the email world! Gmail rolled out support for responsive design, improved font styling, and CSS for accessibility. Apple released iOS 10 and the iPhone 7.

Windows Mail officially overtook Windows Live Mail for the #9 spot, likely the result of Microsoft retiring Windows Live Mail.

October

While the overall percentage stayed the same for mobile, webmail, and desktop, Android dropped to 9.2% this month.

November

In November, webmail market share grew to 29%, while mobile and desktop dropped to 55% and 16%, respectively. Gmail remains the most popular webmail client by far, jumping up from 15% to 17% this month.

December

Mobile opens began and ended the year at 54% of all email opens. Webmail grew to 30%, driven by a jump from Gmail, now at 20% of all opens. Desktop decreased to 16%.


*Our 2016 market share data is derived from over 17 billion opens collected worldwide with Litmus Email Analytics between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. It highlights worldwide trends across all industries and verticals. Some email clients may be over- or under- represented due to image blocking.

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