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How do people use email?

How do people use email?

A couple of months back (March 8, 2010), I put a new poll on this web site – “How do you access email?”. The three simple choices were:

  • Web Browser
  • Email Program
  • Both

As most of you know, the two popular ways to check email are webmail and email clients (also known as email programs). So which is the preferred option?

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Webmail is probably the simpler of the two – at least, it’s what most beginners start off with. All you require is a web browser and a working internet connection. Also since free email accounts abound (from services like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo), one could jump to the conclusion that a majority of the users access email via webmail.

How does the world use email? Webmail or email client

The results of the poll, however, tell a different story. Though the difference in the number of votes for the three options is not substantial, my assumption that webmail would come out at the top has gone down the drain. Surprisingly more people use an email client to access their messages.

How do people use their email accounts; via webmail or email clients?
 # votes *% votes *
Email Program144236.5

*The numbers will change over time and I will keep updating them monthly.

Obviously, there is an inherent danger in all kinds of data collection. In this case, we’ve not taken into consideration things such as the higher tendency (?) of email clients users to cast votes or the fact that this web site might be getting more people who use email clients instead of webmail! Anyway, the results are interesting and tell us that given a choice, more people would opt for downloading email to their computers via an email program… or was that another assumption of mine?

There is also a take home message for free email service providers such as Yahoo. If people prefer to use email programs for checking their message, the users of Gmail and Hotmail are in luck as POP access is available at no cost – refer links below for details. Yahoo, I suppose, might lose the race in the coming years if they don’t enabled POP access on their free accounts. FYI, a year back Hotmail started to provide free POP access.

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