Of these early adopters, Microsoft Office 365 is the email cloud provider of choice, with a far smaller percentage using Google Apps for Work. In the greater Asia region, however, Google has a far higher usage than Microsoft.
In preparing its latest cloud email market analysis, Gartner said its analysts looked at the email routing data from almost 40,000 public companies globally to determine the Microsoft and Google cloud email spread.
Globally speaking, 13 percent of the public companies looked at by Gartner are using cloud-based email services; 8.5 percent are using Microsoft Office 365 and 4.7 percent opted for Google Apps for Work.
According to Gartner, the remaining 87 percent are using on-premises, hybrid, hosted, or private cloud email managed by smaller vendors.
Microsoft is ahead in most industries, particularly in regulated industries which includes utilities, energy, and aerospace, whilst Gartner found Google takes the lead in industry segments with more competition and less regulation, such as software publishing, retail, advertising, media, education, consumer products, food and beverage, and travel.
Nikos Drakos, research vice president at Gartner, believes the cloud email market is still in its early stages.
"Although it is still early days for cloud email adoption, both Microsoft and Google have achieved significant traction among enterprises of different sizes, industries, and geographies," he said.
"Companies considering cloud email should question assumptions that public cloud email is not appropriate in their region, size, or industry.
"Our findings suggest that many varied organisations are already using cloud email, and the number is growing rapidly."
In addition, Gartner said the use of public cloud email is becoming more widespread across industries and company sizes. In some industries such as travel and hospitality, professional services, and consumer products, Gartner found higher usage levels from companies with higher revenue.
"Among public companies using cloud-based email, Microsoft is more popular with larger organisations and has more than an 80 percent share of companies using cloud email with revenue above $10 billion," Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner, said.
"Google's popularity is better among smaller companies, approaching a 50 percent share of companies with revenue less than $50 million."
In terms of cost, Microsoft offers customers six pricing tiers, and Google offers only two. Google Apps for Work is the lowest-priced package with the standard tier costing $5 per user per month. Microsoft Office 365's cheapest tier is its Business Essentials package, which costs $6 per user per month.