A new survey by independent research organisation, YouGov, has identified Hotmail as the UK’s most preferred host address provider when it comes to private email accounts.

The survey found that the Microsoft-owned email account host was used by 29 per cent of UK consumers. Younger email users in particular were found to be drawn to the Hotmail platform, with 47 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 saying that Hotmail was their preferred private account.

The popularity of Hotmail was found to be significantly greater than that identified for the second-most favoured host – Yahoo – which was favoured by just 15 per cent of respondents.

Google, meanwhile, was found to be the third-most popular – at 14 per cent – while AOL was cited as the least favoured host provider, used by only three per cent.

Further analysis by YouGov revealed that Hotmail was preferred more by females than by males – with only 27 per cent of men favouring Hotmail as their main host address source compared with 31 per cent of women.

Regional comparisons showed that Hotmail was most popular in the North East – where it was favoured by 39 per cent of respondents. Interestingly, in London, Hotmail came in behind Google in terms of popularity, with the latter coming top among 18 per cent of respondents in that region.

The survey revealed that although Hotmail was the overall favourite host web account, the average number of email accounts held among UK users was four.

The YouGov research was carried out online and involved more than 2,000 respondents.