Celebrating 28 Years of SMS

The mGage team looks back on 28 years of the humble, but highly effective, text message.

This year we celebrate SMS turning 28 years old. On 3 December 1992, Neil Papworth sent the first SMS by typing “Merry Christmas” on a computer and sending it to Richard Jarvis at Vodafone. Thus, the first version of the modern-day text message we all know, and love was born.

It’s hard to imagine a life without texting, but the technology didn’t catch on right away. Most early mobile phones did not support the ability to send texts and operators were slow to decide on a way to bill customers for the service. In 1995, according to the GSMA, mobile users sent an average of only 0.4 text messages per day. These days, most people send much more than one text per day, with the average person sharing 15 messages with friends, family, coworkers, and even businesses per day, according to our own State of Texting report from 2019.

SMS is a powerful tool for brands and consumers alike. Whether you’re sending discounts to thousands of customers in seconds or simply catching up with a friend, SMS connects all of us every day. To celebrate 28 years of SMS  we are sharing 28 powerful stats about the many ways it makes life a little easier and brighter.

SMS Engagement Stats
1. SMS has a 209 per cent higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook (Source: Mobile Xco)
2. SMS open rates are as high as 98 per cent, compared to just 20 per cent of all emails (Campaign Monitor)
3. 95 per cent of texts are read within 3 minutes (SlickText)
4. It takes, on average, 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text (CTIA)
5. The average SMS campaign conversion rate is 45 per cent (Salesforce)

Consumer Texting Habits
6. 5 billion people in the world can send and receive SMS messages (Text Magic)
7. 74 per cent of cell phone and smartphone users have no unread text messages (Zipwhip)
8. Americans now check their phones 96 times a day – that’s once every 10 minutes and a 20 per cent increase from 2 years ago (Asurion)
9. Consumers spend more time texting on their phones than doing nearly any other mobile activity, including social media, gaming, online shopping, and watching videos (EZ Texting)
10. It’s not just for millennials – 43 per cent of consumers aged 60 and over check their text messages at least three times per hour (EZ Texting)
11. Over half of consumers (61 per cent) get uncomfortable when their phone isn’t near them (Avochato)
12. 91 per cent of all US mobile users keep their phones within arm’s reach at all times (Connect Mogul)
13. 40 per cent of consumers say they try to text business numbers without even knowing whether the number can receive texts (Zipwhip)

SMS for Marketing
14. Consumers redeem SMS-delivered coupons about 10 times more than other coupon types (Point of Sale)
15. 70 per cent of consumers think SMS marketing is a great way for businesses to get their attention (G2)
16. 75 per cent of consumers want to receive texts with special offers (SmallBizDaily)
17. SMS produces engagement rates 6-8 times higher than retailers normally achieve via email marketing when used for redemption, data collection, and brand awareness (Retail Dive)
18. 59 per cent of people say that a promotional SMS has led them to visit a store or go online to check out a brand (Message Media)
19. 69 per cent of people would prefer an unfamiliar company to contact them via text rather than a phone call (Avochato)

SMS for Customer Service
20. 83 per cent of consumers would like to receive appointment reminders via text, but only 20 per cent of businesses send them this way (G2)
21. 70 per cent of consumers want to use mobile messaging to troubleshoot issues (GSMA)
22. 97 per cent of companies found they communicated with consumers more efficiently after launching texting initiatives (GSMA)
23. 71 per cent of consumers say using text messaging to communicate with a business was effective (MMA Global)
24. Sending business appointment reminders to customers through SMS reduced missed appointments by 26 per cent (Statista)
25. 67 per cent of smartphone users in the US like to receive service-based messages from their banks (TextMagic)

SMS for Operations
26. 70 per cent of employees think that companies should use texting for internal communication (Prism Global)
27. 80 per cent of people are currently using texting for business (eWeek)
28. 2 in 5 employees ignore HR emails and nearly half said receiving less emails would improve their job satisfaction (SlickText)

These are just 28 of the many reasons brands leverage SMS for marketing, customer service, operations, and more! If you’re ready to get started with SMS, contact us today.