Gmail’s buzz – much bigger than its bite?

Among 100+ other industry categories, Compete’s category profiles include an aggregate view of all US internet users engagement with web-based email clients. At first glance, there’s some surprising data in there. If you were to ask me what the most popular email client was before reviewing this category, I would say Gmail without a doubt.

Based on unique visitors from the US IBP (internet browsing population), Gmail doesn’t even hold a candle to Hotmail (94% larger than Gmail) and Yahoo Mail (190% larger). Gmail’s buzz is obviously much larger than it’s bite.

percentage of inique visitors to each web based email clientGranted, Gmail is younger than Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. According to Wikipedia Hotmail was established in 1994, Yahoo Mail in 1997, and Gmail in 2004, so there’s certainly an opportunity for Gmail to gain market share as it matures.

When looking at the Email category as a whole, it doesn’t look like growth in market share will come from new web-based email users. Overall monthly unique visitor traffic (a direct indicator of email usage) to the entire Email category has been trending down. In fact, traffic has decreased 11% year over year.

us traffic to web-based email clients

Perhaps the Web-based Email market has reached saturation? It will be interesting to see where monthly traffic levels off and how market share changes over time.

Access to Category Profiles is part of Compete PRO Enterprise.

About Drew Fortin:
Drew is responsible for strategy and execution of marketing initiatives for, including affiliate, blog, email, lead generation, paid search, and social media. Before Compete, Drew worked for office supply giant, Staples, Inc. where he had the opportunity to manage multiple online marketing channels for, including affiliate, SEO/SEM, and comparison shopping engines. Follow Drew on Twitter or link him on LinkedIn.

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  1. Shane

    I find this decline in webmail traffic from home computers interesting. Perhaps consumers are accessing from their home computers less and leveraging their mobile devices more. Sending messages directly through Facebook could be at play here too!


  2. NV

    With AOL being a large player it seems surprising that it is not rated (unless it falls into the other category).
    I would also be interesting in results that expanded the demographics across EMEA and / or the rest of the world


  3. Edge

    This is really not an apples to apples comparison. Yahoo mail is built into some ISP services including AT&T DSL I believe in some locations. Meaning lots of people have yahoo mail by default because of their ISP. It is a part of their account, meaning even if they don’t use it, it still shows them as a user. I’ve never used my ISPs email address (a roadrunner one) in favor of my own personal email address and webmail.

    Every single other webmail provider int he graph has no connection to any ISPs anywhere, they simply have users who purposefully went on to their website and created an account.


  4. Ryan

    We need to get numbers on MAU’s and DAU’s for this information to be of any use to anyone. Do yahoo and hotmail every delete users? No, so they’ve been accumulating the users the longest but the question is who has the most legitimate and active users?