Less than ten years ago saw the release of the very first iPhone, and now we’ve got the iPhone 6s, the iWatch and the iPad, not to mention a myriad of other devices, updates and gadgets.

It seems hard to believe that so much technology has been developed in just a decade, and the past year alone has seen a surge in technological developments. It can be hard to keep ahead of the apps and updates to know where exactly your subscribers read your emails- fortunately Litmus Software have done the hard work for us by analysing 13 billion opens over the course of 2015 to look into email market share. The results are in!

Mobile optimisation takes critical importance

With email becoming increasingly mobile, it comes as no surprise that the number of mobile opens has increased by 17% to now represent 55% of all opens. Conversely, the number of desktop opens has decreased by 17% and webmail opens have also taken a downturn to just 13% of total opens. For marketers, this means that optimising email campaigns to read well on mobile devices is critical, as your subscribers won’t be forgiving of a campaign that fails to load or has poorly-rendered images. If your campaigns aren’t already optimised for mobile, you must make this a priority as mobile opens have surpassed the 50% mark. Can you afford to miss out 50% of your database?

Let’s crunch some numbers

When it comes to the most popular email clients, again no surprises here as the Apple iPhone has risen to hold over 33% of the market share, making them the most popular email client of 2015, closely followed-up by Gmail with 15% market share. With a whopping 45% market share, iOS remains an indomitable force in the market, news which will cause web developers and email designers to celebrate as iOS is strongly supportive of HTML and CSS. It’s not all good news for the Apple powerhouse though, as iPad opens have decreased by 5%, which ties in with a general downturn in tablet sales (with Q4 2015 figures reporting a 20% drop in sales).

Desktops: Dead or alive?

In what was a fairly uneventful year for desktop opens, Outlook had a bit of a mixed-bag of events. Outlook 2016 for Windows was released in September 2015 and has picked up over 5% of Outlook opens, but when placed against Apple Mail their opens decreased by 33% overall to represent only 6% of all desktop opens. Outlook have also tried to introduce a “universal” email app which runs across desktop, smartphones and tablets but the Microsoft Word rendering is causing headaches for developers and the mobile version contains many of the issues seen in the desktop version. Apple Mail remained fairly stagnant in 2015, increasing from 8.3% of opens in Jan 2015 to 8.4% in December 2015- a fairly consistent if uneventful year.

What does all this mean for marketers?

It doesn’t take much to realise that iOS and Android are fairly safe bets when it comes to email clients, and so marketers and developers should focus on ensuring that their campaigns perform flawlessly on these platforms. The constant ebb and flow of client popularity and changes in market share can create a headache trying to keep up with the changes, but the consistent rise in mobile opens makes it clear where our priorities should lie. Bear in mind, of course, that these figures from Litmus Software apply to the general population, so whilst this gives a good general overview of the state of email opens, it may vary for your database- it’s what your open data tells you that matters.