If we are to take into account ComScore’s data on Gmail’s number of unique visitors between December 2007 and December 2008 vis-a-vis Windows Live Hotmail, it looks like Gmail is bound overtake Windows Live Hotmail soon.
According to ComScore, Gmail registered 29.6 million unique monthly visitors in December 2008. This amounts to a 43% increase from 2007’s 20.8 million. Windows Live Hotmail’s monthly unique visitors on the other hand was reduced to 43.5 million from 45.7 million in the same period. Yahoo! Mail which leads the free webmail provider pack still managed to post an 11% growth during the said period with 91.9 million unique visitors.
Now here’s an interesting analysis of this trend. According to Information Week:
If Google’s Gmail growth rate rises to, say, 46% over 2009, it could reach approximately 43 million unique U.S. visitors by the end of the year. And if Windows Live Hotmail continues to bleed visitors at a rate of, say, 3%, it will finish the year with around 42 million unique visitors per month.
So, it’s pretty obvious that Gmail is catching up fast onto Windows Live Hotmail. Now, if Gmail’s growth trend continues, and at the rate that it is growing as against the rate Yahoo is growing, by around 2011, Gmail will overtake Yahoo! Mail as well. Hence, becoming the number one webmail provider.
Of course, it’s pretty obvious why Gmail is gaining grounds in terms of membership. Google is employing the same formula and clean interface of its Search Engine product to Gmail. In addition, Gmail is continously introducing more new features to Gmail, through the Gmail Labs.
Since the start of January, Google has been making available various Gmail Labs features for testing and implementation by Gmail users.
Some of these new Gmail features which can be activated include, multiple tabs and offline email viewing through Google Gears. In addition, Google has been pretty aggressive in marketing Gmail, tying it up with other Google products to increase its userbase.
Both Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail have reason to be threatened right now. Gmail is certainly posing a grave threat which both Yahoo and Microsoft should try to thwart if they want to maintain their position in the current race for web email supremacy.