Study highlights differences in email behavior based on age, gender

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Yahoo’s study of more than 16 billion emails sent by over 2 million people enabled comprehensive gender and age analysis to see which subject lines were used, when emails were sent, response time, their length and the number of attachments.

A key takeout from the study was that while men send responses slightly faster, they are likely to use much less words. While a woman’s response has a median length of 30 words and a median response time of 24 minutes, men sent message will less words (median of 28) and 28 minute response times.

However, age also plays a part. The younger the person, the faster and shorter the reply. While adults age 51 and over take as long as 47 minutes to reply to an email, that drops to 13 minutes on average among teens. You’re likely to get a longer response from an older email with 40 words the median for those age 51 and over but just 17 words from a teen. Teens also send a larger volume of messages.

Messages sent from mobile devices are the fastest, followed by those sent from tablets. Unsurprisingly, responses sent from mobile devices tend to be a lot shorter than those sent from desktops. The median length of a message sent from a smartphone is 20 words compared to 60 for those sent from a desktop.

Interestingly, email overload also affects behavior. The study found that receiving more email led to more time spent in their inbox but briefer responses and a smaller proportion of emails being responded to.



Kristina Knight is a freelance writer based in Ohio, United States. She began her career in radio and television broadcasting, focusing her energies on health and business reporting. After six years in the industry, Kristina branched out on her own. Since 2001, her articles have appeared in Family Delegate, Credit Union Business, and with Threshold Media.