Electrolytes have been identified as some of the most influential components in the performance of electrochemical supercapacitors (ESs), which include: electrical double-layer capacitors, pseudocapacitors and hybrid supercapacitors. This paper reviews recent progress in the research and development of ES electrolytes. The electrolytes are classified into several categories, including: aqueous, organic, ionic liquids, solid-state or quasi-solid-state, as well as redox-active electrolytes. Effects of electrolyte properties on ES performance are discussed in detail. The principles and methods of designing and optimizing electrolytes for ES performance and application are highlighted through a comprehensive analysis of the literature. Interaction among the electrolytes, electro-active materials and inactive components (current collectors, binders, and separators) is discussed. The challenges in producing high-performing electrolytes are analyzed. Several possible research directions to overcome these challenges are proposed for future efforts, with the main aim of improving ESs' energy density without sacrificing existing advantages (e.g., a high power density and a long cycle-life) (507 references).