I am the only person I know who uses a local email client, rather than gmail, and I run with a reasonably tech savvy crowd.
Pretty much everyone I work with (ie clients) use outlook. The lowest people on the totem pole (e.g. retail store staff -- people who do not spend much time on the computer) are using gmail apps for work, or outlook online through office 365 -- but everyone in even routine admin positions on up through management is on outlook as part of office 365 or with the google apps connector.
Pretty much everyone i know 'socially' has email on their phone (ie via an app); and may use webmail or outlook depending if they have outlook. (Office Home edition doesn't come with it.)
Lots of people I know still use ISP mail as well via webmail, outlook, or their phone or some combination.
I personally have 2 mailboxes on outlook for office 365, and 2 more in IMAP on thunderbird (one ISP, and one hosted IMAP).
The issue as I see it, isn't so much that the 'local email client is dying' because its that POP/IMAP is dying. And that's not really a suprise... POP is outdated and inadequate in this connected world of devices and tablets and computers with everything in sync. And IMAP works... but is poor cousin to googleapps or outlook/exchange/activesync due to not handling contacts or calendars etc.
Meanwhile ISP mail is on the downtrend for a several reasons --
- as people (intelligently) are realizing that being tied to an isp mailbox ties them to an ISP
- 2nd because ISP mail frequently has irritating limits like nothing working but the webclient unless you were actually connected to their network, or receiving works but not sending etc etc;
- 3rd it often has small mailbox sizes,
- 4th its anti-spam capabilities tend to suck compared to the big providers.
- 5th its harder to setup the client ... servers, ports, ssl? tls? imap or pop? where's the easy button?
I'd honestly be surprised if one person in a hundred was running their own email client rather than using a web interface to (most likely) gmail, or possibly some other similar web service
Maybe, but only if you only sampled home users AND didn't count using apps on their phones and tablets.
Decentralization is dying. Centralization is winning.
Yes..but that's a separate issue completely from clients vs web-based.
Centralization of servers is winning because google and microsoft have pretty compelling products --- for the business (office 365 and google apps for enterprises). And its compelling for the home user too ... for free. Hosting your own email server is a right PITA and more work than its probably worth and far beyond average joe... and not worth the trouble even to most techies (been there done that). And some little hosting company offering 10 x 500MB mailboxes that only support POP/IMAP ... for $60/year that's harder to setup, gets more spam, search doesn't work as well, and fills up too quickly... that's not terribly compelling either. (Although that is what I'm currently using for my personal domain...but i recognize its shortcomings and can't give many solid reasons to do it compared to using google or microsoft.)
And all that's left is the privacy-centric mail services, but those cost even more... $60/year per mailbox instead of $60 per year for 10 of them... and really only truly appeal to people who really prioritize privacy.