Mobile Maintains 51% Majority; Gmail Gains 3%

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After meeting (and exceeding!) the 50% tipping point in November, mobile opens maintained their majority share through December. For the first time since May 2012, webmail opens netted an increase—moving from 18% to 20% of opens. Meanwhile, desktop opens decreased from 31% to 29%.


Outlook contributed to the overall desktop loss, dropping 3 percentage points—from 17% to 14% of opens. Outlook still remains in the #2 spot in the top ten, and I suspect the drop was due to people being away from the office for the holidays and checking less desktop email as a result.

The Impact of Image Blocking on Gmail Market Share

Early in December, Gmail shook things up with some big announcements—while Gmail had automatically blocked images since it’s inception, image caching now allows for security improvements and automatic image loading. This is a long-awaited announcement that will have email designers celebrating, and another sign that email continues to evolve.

The persistence of image blocking makes tracking email opens difficult, and can result in certain email clients being over- or under-reported in open stats. It’s why we focus so much on the trends behind the numbers from month-to-month. While Gmail has historically been toward the bottom of our top ten, it rose nearly three percentage points in December and nearly doubled its share—Gmail has jumped from #8 to 6th place, and now represents 6% of opens.


These types of tracking changes don’t happen very often, but they might give us an indication of how image blocking affects other email clients—although we also need to keep in mind that there are a variety of other factors at play (audience demographics, mobile usage, tabs, etc.).

Year in Review: 2013

So while December closed out with some major changes, 2013 was an impressive year for email and market share stats overall. Mobile opens increased 21% over the year, desktop decreased 12%, and webmail decreased 20%.


More highlights from 2013

  • Android moved from #6 to #3 between January and December. Android now represents 12% of total opens—a 57% increase.
  • replaced Hotmail in April, contributing to a brief trip to the #4 spot.
  • The introduction of Gmail tabs was followed by a 20% decrease in open rates, only to reverse course recently.
  • Thunderbird made a brief appearance at the #10 spot in May before dropping back off in June.

Market share by the month

If you’re feeling nostalgic you can browse through each month’s highlights and video from 2013 below.

January: Android Climbs in Market Share; Mobile Email Opens Up 138%

February: Gmail Opens Grow, Hotmail & Yahoo! Decline

March: iPad Opens Grown 49% in 12 Months; Total Mobile Email Opens Back to 43%

April: Emails Opened on Mobile? Start Designing for Fingers and Thumbs

May: Breaks into Email Client Top Ten at #7

June: Increases Market Share by 20%; Soars to #4 Spot

July: Mobile Opens Hit 44% and Takes a Dive

August: Gmail Opens Drop 18%: Are Tabs to Blame?

September: Mobile Opens Hit Record High of 47%

October: 48% of Emails are Opened on Mobile; Gmail Opens Down 20% Since Tabs

November: Gmail Drops to #9; Android Poised to Upset iPad for #3 Spot

December: Mobile Opens Hit 51%; Android Claims #3 Spot