Industry report

Gmail Statistics, Users, Growth And Facts For 2021

Paul Buchheit conceptualized web-based email at the beginning of the 90s even before Hotmail or Yahoo mail started. However, he didn’t actually begin working on Gmail until 2001. Hotmail and Yahoo Mail at that point were very slow due to their plain HTML code.

Paul wrote Gmail in JavaScript and even provided 1 GB of storage space in Gmail as opposed to the 2 MB and 4 MB options that were prevalent in the market at that point. Later, several other young engineers and project managers got involved in the project before Gmail could roll out its beta version in April 2004.

Over the years, Gmail and its app had tested multiple times until finally, Gmail moved out of the beta phase and the final version offered to the public in July 2009- five years after the first launch.

Overview of Gmail Statistics, Users, Growth And Facts For 2021

Gmail Active Users

  • In June 2012, Gmail had a little over 425 million active users.
  • In the next three years, Gmail saw a massive increase in inactive users, and the usage reached 900 million by May 2015.
  • In Feb 2016, it crossed the 1 billion active users mark.
  • By October 2018, Gmail had over 1.5 billion active users.
  • The number continues to increase since and is currently over 1.8 billion users.


  • In May 2014, Gmail was the first PlayStore app that was installed 1 billion times on Android devices.
  • Gmail recently launched Smart Compose, which allows users to add predictive text based on the sentence in their email. Smart Compose helps save 1 billion characters from being typed out every week.
  • 12% of the replies sent in 2017 were smart replies in Gmail. If the same amount of smart replies continue to have used, the smart reply emails will constitute roughly 6.7 billion emails sent every day on Gmail.
  • It also added the schedule and email for a later feature.
  • Most recently, it also added the facility to embed web page links directly into the email. So, users can interact with the links in the email without having to leave their mailbox.
  • In January 2020, Gmail’s parent company Alphabet finally joined the 1 trillion valuation club alongside tech giants Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Gmail Milestones

  • Initially, Gmail used internally all across Google before it had offered to the public in 2004.
  • Within the first 2 months of beta-testing, Gmail services were available only on an invitation basis, and people started selling Gmail accounts for as high as $150. The practice stopped by a change in the Gmail policy in June 2004.
  • In April 2005, Gmail increased the available storage to 2 GB and allowed messages to send in HTML or plain text.
  • In November 2006, Gmail introduced Java-based mobile app services.
  • In January 2007, Gmail added Google Docs and Spreadsheets to its mail service and provided features to open these attachments directly in the Gmail.
  • In June 2008, it started Gmail Labs, which allowed users to conduct testing of new features on Gmail and provide feedback on them, and in December, it added tasks or to-do lists in the Gmail account. Around the same time, it offered PDF view features without downloading the attachment to the customers
  • On 24 February 2009, Gmail hit with some technical snag, resulted in a blackout for 2.5 hours, which had affected 100 million accounts worldwide.
  • July 2009 Gmail dropped its beta status.
  • In November 2011, the Gmail interface underwent a major revamp and redesigned to look more minimalist.
  • In April 2012, Gmail increased its storage to 10 GB.
  • In May 2013, again, Gmail increased its storage to 15 GB, which included storage across Gmail, Google+ Photos, and Drive. It also offered; additional monthly subscription paid plans allowing users to buy storage up to 30 TB for personal usage. The categorization of emails into different tabs was also introduced during May 2013 onward.
  • In August 2014, Gmail was the first and only email service provider that allowed emails to send or receive from IDs that had letters outside the Latin alphabets.
  • In April 2018, again Gmail redesigned its interface and added a Confidential Mode so that secrete messages could be revoked or sent with an expiry.
  • Inbox started in October 2014, with a separate interface but had the same functionalities as an e-mail account. However, the feature discontinued in April 2019 as all the features that were unique to Inbox such as labels, snooze emails, pins, reminders, and scheduled e-mails, were slowly integrated into the main Gmail interface.
  • Today a user can send emails with 50 MB in size with attachments up to 25 MB and can share over Gmail with an overall storage capacity of 15 GB.
  • As of today, Google supports 75 languages.


  • Around 61% of the users in the age group of 18-29 years prefer Google as their primary e-mail account.
  • Mobile devices are more common for Gmail access, with 75% of users using their mobiles to access it.
  • 54% of the e-mail users in the ages of 30-44 years use Gmail.
  • In the ages of 45-54 years, 36% of users choose Gmail.
  • 31 is the median age of all Gmail users.
  • 68% of all Gmail users fall in the ages of 18-34 years, with most of them on the higher side of this age range.


  • 61% of the users of Gmail are millennials, which makes it popular among youth.
  • 54% of Generation X users are Gmail users.
  • Only 24% of those above 65 are primary Gmail users


The Typical Gmail Inbox

  • 4% of the incoming emails in a Gmail inbox are classified in the promotions mail category.
  • Another 22.1% of the emails fall under the category of Updates. These include emails that provide information about any purchases made by the user, their receipts, details of shipping, etc.
  • Including Spam messages, Gmail inbox roughly consists of around 17,000 emails.


  • While most of the Spam is automatically moved to the Spam folder in Gmail, around 0.1% of the Spam emails still find their way into the Inbox.
  • Even the other way around where significant mail moves to the Spam mail folder happens roughly about 0.05% of the time. It proves the efficiency of the Gmail algorithm to sort out Spam emails from the regular ones.
  • Promotional mails or emails that classified as Promotions are not sent directly to the Spam folder. 85% of these emails find their way to the regular Inbox of a user under the category of Promotions.
  • The emails tagged under the Social category enjoys about 87.2% placement rate in any Inbox.
  • Similarly, the emails that are under the tag of Updates are also consistently places in the Inbox with a rate of 86.8%.

Read Rates

  • Of the messages that are sent to the Promotions folder, the read rate is around 19.2% on an average.
  • On the other hand, when messages fall under the Update tag, their read rate increases to 28% since users find them highly relevant.
  • When messages are under the Social tag, they get opened 22.4% of the time.
  • While the numbers of emails sorted into Forum are low, the ones that sorted in Forums have a 21.1% read rate.
  • The Primary tab has a read rate of 22% even though it is the topmost placed tab in any individual’s Gmail Inbox.

Revenue Estimate

  • Although Alphabet (parent company of Google/Gmail) does not publish separate revenues for each of its products, a conservative unofficial estimate on the USA access data shows that about 80% of the population i.e., about 240 million individuals has access to the internet.
  • Around 50% of the USA email market is dominated by Gmail or has Gmail users.
  • Among these 120 million users, if there are around 2 ads shown in every email, with one email a day, then in a year, the user would see about 720 advertisements in Gmail.
  • If the ads have an average CTR of 20%, considering 700 ads and 120 million users, the ad clicks would be around 16.8 clicks.
  • If the revenue on average generated per ad is 10 cents, then an annual 1.68 billion net revenue can be collected by Gmail ads in the USA.

Alphabet Revenue

  • Alphabet- the parent company of Google and Gmail has continued to grow its revenue. In the first quarter of 2017, it recorded 24.75 billion dollars in revenue.
  • In 2018 in the 1st quarter, the company did 31.16 billion dollars in revenue, which was 26% higher than the revenue of 2016.


  • G-Suite allows Gmail for businesses that have features such as the company’s domain name for email addresses, 30 GB to unlimited storage on Drive, sync with Outlook, and support for add-ons purchases from G Suite.
  • G Suite Basic tier costs $5, and the Business version costs $10. However, from 2019, these prices increased to $6 and $12, respectively. The enterprise version stayed at the cost of $25 per month.
  • In 2017, Gmail had a combined quarterly revenue from G-Suite and Google cloud services of about $1 billion.
  • By the end of 2018, Google G-Suite had 5 million active monthly businesses, which was roughly more than 1 million of the previous year.
  • The combined revenue from Google’s cloud services includes G-Suite, PlayStore, and hardware sales, such as Chromecast sales, which was $4.64 billion.
  • The combined revenue was 29% higher than the sales in the same period in 2017.
  • In the upcoming year, Google expects significant growth in the combined revenue from $4.6 billion to $6 billion.

Gmail vs. Competitors

  • As of 2017, on a global scale, Google has around 59% of the primary email users opting for Gmail, while Hotmail/Outlook has 18% of the primary e-mail account share. Yahoo has 5% global dominance, and others such as AOL have 17% of the share.
  • Even though Outlook and Yahoo started its email service much before than Gmail, the average active user base stands at 400 million and 228 million, respectively.
  • Yahoo offers 1 TB of free storage as opposed to the 15 GB of Gmail.
  • 19% of the people in the ages of 18-29 years prefer Yahoo.
  • Those in the age group of 30-44 years use Yahoo, which is about 23% of the total e-mail users.
  • 32% of people between the age group 45-54, use Yahoo.
  • 29% of people between the ages of 55-64 years are Yahoo users.
  • 31% of people older than 65 use Yahoo, whereas 16% of American users prefer AOL as their e-mail provider.
  • While Gmail has a market share of 44% of the global users, the only other dominating email service is Yahoo Mail that still has 26% of users. Outlook, which is the third most used e-mail service, has only 6% of the market share, with around one in ten people using it as their primary e-mailing service.

Gmail and Competitors Email Client Share

  • Email client share is an email interface by which a customer syncs and operates their emails.
  • In 2017, Gmail ranked 2nd in the top email clients with 26% of user share, whereas Apple iPhone was 1st at 28%, and the iPad was 3rd at 11% with Apple Mail at 4th position with 7%. Other clients in the top 10 included Outlook, Samsung Mail,, Android, Yahoo Mail, and Windows Live Mail.
  • In 2018, the ranking remained the same, but the iPhone had 29%, Gmail had 27%, iPad had 10%, and Apple Mail had 8%. The rest of the clients in the top 10 stayed the same.
  • In 2019, the first time, Gmail topped the ranking with a 27.8% market share, and Apple iPhone had a 27.6% share. Outlook was the third most popular client at 9.1% ahead of iPad at 8.5% and Apple Mail at 7.5%. The rest of the clients remained the same except Live Mail, which was replaced by Thunderbird.

Email Opens

  • Of the 40% emails that opened in web-mail clients, by the end of 2018, 27.2% of emails were in Gmail as opposed to 6.1% opened in Yahoo Mail, and 2.2% opened in Outlook.
  • In the first quarter of 2019, 26.2% of the web-mails were opened on Gmail, whereas only 6.6% were in Yahoo Mail, and only 24% were in Outlook.

Future of Gmail

  • Gmail is not a huge driver for revenues since Gmail ads are reasonably new to the digital industry.
  • By 2022, as users will have more than one Gmail account, the average number of accounts per user will increase to 1.9.
  • Gmail’s addition of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) will ensure that the interactive nature of emails increases over the next few years.
  • There is also a scope of adding promo cards and cover pictures below the subject line in the inbox.
  • Since the introduction of the Email Analytics tool in Gmail, it has opened opportunities to analyze various factors involved in the sending and receiving of emails such as word counts, email traffic breakdown daily and hourly, response time to emails, and more. It has opened avenues to understand employee tracking, productivity improvement, ROI, and more.
  • Monetizing the tool might add another revenue source to Gmail apart from the promotions and advertisements that are currently generating revenue.


Gmail is becoming more and more popular for using businesses, official communications, and individuals to use it for their personal requirements. Over the small duration, Gmail has become the most popular e-mail service provider globally, beating long term market dominators within a short period of its launch. The reason for the benefit is the high accessibility, integration with other popular services, and Google itself is such a popular platform for daily use. The future updates in Gmail are expected to be more robust, user-friendly, and loaded with more features that make e-mailing more and more convenient.

Reference Links

Researched by Brian and SaaS Scout team
Researched by Brian and SaaS Scout team

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