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February 2016 Email Market Share: Mobile Opens Climb Back to 55%


February market share saw mobile email opens climb back to their highest levels yet—55%. While webmail opens decreased slightly from 27% to 26% of opens, desktop opens remained stagnant since last month. Let’s take an in-depth look at February market share data!


The positions of the top 10 email clients have remained unchanged since December 2015, with Apple iPhone, Gmail, and Apple iPad continue to hold the top three spots.

  1. Apple iPhone: 33.0%
  2. Gmail: 15.8%
  3. Apple iPad: 11.6%
  4. Android: 10.3%
  5. Apple Mail: 7.6%
  6. Outlook: 6.7%
  7. Yahoo! Mail: 3.0%
  8. 2.1%
  9. Windows Live Mail: 1.3%
  10. Thunderbird: 0.7%

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Environment growth

February ended with mobile representing 55% of opens, webmail with 26% of opens, and desktop with 19% of opens. While desktop opens have remained stagnant since January, mobile opens increased 1.9%, and webmail opens decreased 3.3%.

The differences might seem slight compared to last month, but it’s a major change from last year. Since February 2015:

  • Mobile opens have increased 19.6%
  • Webmail opens have decreased 18.8%
  • Desktop opens have decreased 13.6%


Mobile email opens

Apple iPhone and iPad represent 44.6% of total opens, and 80.8% of mobile opens. This is good news for email designers since iOS has great support for HTML and CSS. If you’re seeing a large percentage of your audience opening in these clients, try using modern techniques like HTML5 video and CSS3 animation to see if it increases engagement.

Since January, iPhone opens increased 4.1%, while iPad opens decreased 4.1%. iPad opens have been on a continual decline over the past year and have decreased 4.9% since March 2015.

It’s probably no coincidence that the iPad’s slump to 11.6% of opens has accompanied a downturn in tablet sales. As of Q4 2014, Apple had sold 12.3 million iPads, while Q4 2015 gures report sales of 9.8 million—a 20% drop.


Desktop opens

While Outlook opens have remained relatively stagnant since January, they’ve taken a major hit since last year. Outlook opens have decreased a whopping 27.2% since March 2015. This decrease is likely a result of business shifting away from expensive desktop suites, and moving to scalable services, like Gmail Apps.

However, Outlook opens still represent 6.7% of market share, so it shouldn’t be discounted. Digging into Outlook stats, here’s a breakdown of which versions subscribers are using:

  • Outlook 2000-2003: 15%
  • Outlook 2007: 16%
  • Outlook 2010: 35%
  • Outlook 2013: 27%
  • Outlook 2016: 7%

Unfortunately for email designers, these later versions of Outlook use Microsoft Word to render emails. HTML and CSS support in Outlook 2007+ is less than ideal.

Here’s just some of what email designers are up against:

  • No support for background images in divs and table cells
  • No support for CSS float or position
  • No support for text shadow
  • Poor support for padding and margin
  • Poor support for CSS width and height
  • Problems with nested elements background colors

If you’re seeing a large percentage of your audience opening in later Outlook clients, then definitely keep these quirks in mind.


Webmail opens

Webmail opens have remained relatively unchanged since last month, but have seen major changes since this time last year. Since March 2015, Gmail opens decreased 11.7% and opens decreased 53.3%.

The fall in Gmail opens and subsequent rise of iPhone and Android opens may suggest users of the Gmail app are switching back to the native email apps on these phones. The Gmail app for iOS and Android continually frustrate users with their notoriously poor support for responsive design.

The drastic drop in opens can be attributed to Office 365 replacing the infrastructure. This rollout began in summer 2015, and finished in early February.

Where did we get all this data?

This data is derived from over 1 billion opens collected worldwide with Litmus Email Analytics between February 1, 2016 and February 28, 2016. It highlights worldwide trends across all industries and verticals. Some email clients may be over- or under-represented due to image blocking. Tracking trends over time is the best way to monitor open data for email!

Which email clients are most popular with your audience?

While general email client open data is great for looking at trends, it’s your audience that matters. With the addition of a small tracking code to your campaigns, Litmus Email Analytics generates a report of where your subscribers open your emails. Use that data to focus your testing efforts—and ensure your campaigns look great in inboxes where your subscribers are opening.

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