AOL users likely to be older, tech-ignorant

Faith Merino · March 10, 2011 · Short URL:

Study from finds Gmail users more likely to be younger and more tech savvt

Your email domain says a lot about you. Personally, I haven't trusted any emails from Yahoo or Hotmail since 1998. In fact, I actually kind of think less of people with Yahoo or Hotmail email addresses. It seems like at some point, I always find out that they know nothing about smartphones and their home computer consists of the family clunker that's used only for playing solitaire and doing taxes. And I'm right! In your face, Yahoo and Hotmail! Turns out, Gmail users are younger and more likely to be more tech savvy than any other group, according to a survey conducted by Hunch.

The survey polled over 400,000 Hunch users and looked at Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and an "other" category that included domains like, .edu domains, and work domains. The study found that the vast majority of Gmail users--68% to be exact--are between the ages of 18 and 34, compared to 58% of Hotmail users, 53% of Yahoo users, and just 38% of AOL users. Yes, people still use AOL as their email domain. I was surprised, too... (did you feel that? I think that was the time-space continuum shifting a little bit to account for the collective gasp the universe just emitted.)

Not surprising at all--AOL has the largest over-50 user base of all the email domains studied--22%, compared to 6% of Gmail users, 12% of Yahoo users, and 10% of Hotmail users. Check it out in this really badly color-coordinated chart:

In keeping with the age trends, AOL users are also less likely than other groups to profess to "love" gadgets (the question was actually pretty geriatric itself: "What describes your relationship with techno-gadgets and gizmos?"). Just 42% of AOL users said they love gadgets, compared to 66% of Gmail users. AOL users actually tied with Yahoo users for the largest percentage of respondents (8%) saying they resent having to buy new technology. Coming in third: Hotmail, with 7%.

When it comes to early adoption of technology, Gmail users predictably took the lead with 31% saying they're likely to buy new technology even if it's at a higher cost. Comparatively, 15% of Yahoo users are professed early adopters, as are 16% of AOL users and 17% of Hotmail users. 

But the most interesting part of the survey is where Internet experience is concerned. The question asked "When did you first use email to communicate over the Internet?" Here, we see AOL users as not just old, inexperienced, gadget-hating troglodytes, but actually Old School Internet users. AOL had the highest number of users who have been emailing since before 1992--18% to be exact, compared to 10% of Gmail users. 

Interestingly, the results reveal Yahoo and Hotmail to be the go-to free email domains for first-time email users: 22% of both Yahoo and Hotmail users have only begun using email some time in the last ten years, compared to 14% of Gmail users and 16% of AOL users. 

So let's sum up:

Gmail users are more likely to be: between the ages of 18 and 34, experienced email users, early adopters, and tech lovers.

AOL users are more likely to be: over the age of 50, experienced email users, and ambivalent about new technology.

Yahoo and Hotmail users are more likely to be: inexperienced email users and ambivalent about new technology.

Image source:

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes

Related News