uTorrent saw its first public release in September 2005. A year later this popular lightweight client was acquired by BitTorrent Inc. who continued to develop the application, recently introducing a Mac version.
Despite its popularity, up until now little has been known about the number of regular users the client has. Based on data from PC Pitstop, we reported in April that uTorrent was installed on 11.6% of all PCs in Europe, compared to 5.1% in the United States. However, the number of installs says little about the actual use of the application.
Trying to discover more about the number of regular users of uTorrent, we decided to ask Simon Morris, BitTorrent’s VP of Product Management, and he was willing to share some data with us. Morris told us that every month, 28 million unique clients are actively used. “Client check-ins have continued to grow steadily in the course of 2008,” he said, adding “Clearly the ongoing demand for our freeware seems to be quite strong.”
In comparison, Morris said that the Mainline client – the second most popular BitTorrent client according to PC Pitstop – has 7 million active users a month. More interestingly perhaps, is that the usage statistics of uTorrent gives us more insight into the number of BitTorrent users overall. If we know what the market share of uTorrent is, we could made a fairly accurate estimate of the number of active BitTorrent users a month.
Based on tracker reports, an estimated market share for uTorrent of between 40% and 60% seems fair, which would mean that there are between 50 and 70 million BitTorrent users active each month. If we assume that 70 million active BitTorrent users is an accurate estimate, this means that close to 5% of all people on the Internet are using BitTorrent monthly, which is quite impressive.