November 14, 2008

Study Finds Google Docs Struggles to Gain Foothold in Productivity Suite Market Dominated By Microsoft

From May to November 2008, ClickStream Technologies' standing panel of adult U.S. internet users showed that use of free productivity applications such as Google Docs and OpenOffice remains low, while Microsoft Office is in use by over 50% of adult U.S. internet users and shows no signs of declining popularity.(1)

Of all free productivity applications observed, OpenOffice (a client application) was the most popular, in use by 5% of all users. OpenOffice also had the heaviest and highest frequency of use among free apps, with an average of 548 clicks performed and 8.7 days of use per user.

Google Docs (a web-based application) was the 2nd most popular free productivity app, used by 1% of users. Google docs also had the lightest use of all productivity apps, with an average of 40 actions performed in the app (compare with 548 in OpenOffice and 1,797 in Microsoft Word), and the fewest average days used during the 6-month period. Although 1% of users had Gears installed on their machine, there was no evidence of its use in conjunction with Google Docs, nor did any user click on "Offline" or "Get Google Gears now" in their Docs account.

Of all participants who used Google Docs or Google Spreadsheets during the study, 68% also used Word at least once, indicating that Google Docs has yet to be considered a stand-alone product by most of its users. By contrast, only 26% of OpenOffice users also used Word during the 6-month study. Although Google Docs and Spreadsheets has been touted as a potential competitor to the Microsoft Office Suite, OpenOffice is currently the more likely app to take that position, possibly indicating the value of offline and local processing enabled by installed applications.

Microsoft Word was by far the most popular and most frequently used of all (free or for-purchase, web-based or installed) productivity applications, used by 51% of adult U.S. internet users.

 Productivity Application Use: Adult U.S. Internet Users on Home PCs, May - November 2008  App Name     % of        Average       Average # of      Averaged internet    unique days   actions (mouse    minutes per users who   app was used  clicks)           day app was use the     from May -    performed in the  used app         November '08  app per user ----------------------------------------------------------------------  Microsoft(R) Word              51%          16.4             1,797          16.0 ----------------------------------------------------------------------  Microsoft(R) Notepad(2)          48%           4.5                81           4.5 ----------------------------------------------------------------------  Microsoft(R) Excel              26%          10.9             1,286          18.1 ----------------------------------------------------------------------  OpenOffice            5%           8.7               548           9.3 ----------------------------------------------------------------------  Google(TM) Docs                1%           1.5                40           3.4 ----------------------------------------------------------------------  Google(TM) Spreadsheets         .3%           3.3               100           4.5 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Additional Findings:

-- Google Spreadsheets use was under 1% and had 100 average actions per user.

-- Microsoft Excel was used by about 1/4 of users with an average of 1,286 average actions per user.

-- No users viewed an email attachment in Google Docs using the "Open as a Google Document" feature in Gmail.

-- Less than 1% of the sample used Zoho Virtual Office, but no use was observed for ThinkFree or WriteBoard.


From May to November 2008, ClickStream Technologies recruited 2,400 U.S. internet users over the age of 18 to complete a survey and install ClickSight(R), a patent-pending data collection tool which records click-level user behavior data across all browsers and applications. In addition, ClickSight(R) reports on dozens of data points relating to the user's computer configuration. Over 6 months of click data (more than 350 million user actions) was collected by ClickSight(R) and segmented by each user's self-reported survey responses that were collected at the time of recruitment, which included basic demographic information.

Additional Notes

- Margin of error +/- 2.02%

- Participants were recruited through a market research firm which awards cash and prizes in exchange for completing online surveys.

- Sample is self-reported (in initial recruitment survey) as 65.5% female, 34.5% male; 48.4% married; 76.4% Caucasian, 5.5% African American, 1.58% Asian, 1.73% Hispanic.

About ClickStream Technologies

Founded in 2003, ClickStream Technologies provides technology usage metrics to the world's largest software and hardware developers. Our data-collection tools and standing panel of U.S. internet users create a rich, dynamic feedback loop between the people who develop technologies and the people who use them.

ClickStream's products and services deliver business value in every facet of the software cycle from product planning and development to solution deployment, employee productivity and e-learning. For more information about ClickStream Technologies, please visit

(1) Margin of error: +/- 2.02%. According to a 2006 Pew Internet & American Life Project report, 73% of Americans adults, or 147 million adults, were internet users. For more information: 2006. Internet Penetration and Impact. (accessed November 12, 2008).

(2) Notepad is a text editor included with all versions of Microsoft(R) Windows