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When did SMS trump calls and why should your business care?

Image of Aleksander Piulski
Aleksander Piulski

It all began in 2007, the year when text messages surpassed calls. It became the world’s most popular mobile data service and was used by 2.4 billion out of 3.3 billion mobile phone users. 

The number of text messages being sent per year have grown exponentially since then. Here are some facts and figures about text messages from 2020 for perspective: 

  • 5 billion people around the world have the ability to send and receive messages via SMS
  • The number of monthly texts sent has increased by more than 7,700% over the last decade.
  • Text messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook.
  • SMS open rates are as high as 97%
  • According to Portio Research, the world will send 8.3 trillion SMS messages this year alone. That is 23 billion per day or almost 16 million per minute.
  • According to Velocify, SMS messages have a 45% response rate, as opposed to email which has a 6% response rate. 

These numbers are incredible, to say the least. Text messages could have never come into existence if it wasn’t for the mobile phone being invented (See our history of the mobile phone article here) 

So why did a device invented for calling become mostly used for texting?

Well according to paldesk.com it is mainly the greater accessibility and the fact that it is less time consuming. Humans are hard wired to follow the path of least resistance. This also explains why user experience is such an important concept in the modern business environment. 

Another thing to keep in mind while talking about the history of SMS is the fact that featurephones have been around for a while but smartphones have only been available for the past 13 years. Smartphones only truly appeared in 2007. The man responsible behind the birth of the modern-day smartphone is Steve Jobs together with his dream team at Macworld who revealed the very first iPhone to the world. Not only was this the sleekest touch screen device to hit the market, it was also the first device that offered a full, un-watered-down version of the internet. The very first iPhone gave consumers the ability to browse the web just as they would on a desktop computer.

The main benefits of text messages over calling are:

  1. texting is immune to background noise
  2.  Weak cell network connections are not necessarily a problem,
  3. Technological problems like microphones are not an issue.
  4. It is quicker to drop a text than it is to dial a number and wait it for it to connect. 

Are businesses contributing to the growth of SMS?

Well, yes, and there is a good reason why. Research says that 48% people would prefer receiving brand updates via SMS. This doesn’t only prove the fact that it is still an extremely popular form of communication, it also acknowledges that SMS is here to stay for a very long time not only with consumers but also with businesses.

What are the benefits for using SMS if you are a business? Well, the key benefits for a business to use SMS are: 

  • Quick and timely: SMS are sent and received almost instantly.
  • Easy to analyse: Tracking, analysis and reporting on campaigns effectiveness and ROI - in real-time is easy as ever.
  • Cost Effective: A way of reaching a mass audience for a lower price.
  • Targeted: It reach individuals through customised messages. Drives revenue and increases loyalty. 

Following in the footsteps of global brands is always a good idea and the Industry leading brands are already utilising the power of SMS. Here are a few examples: 

  • Facebook
  • CNN
  • Express
  • IKEA
  • Reebok
  • Petco
  • Tommy Hilfiger

Will SMS stay relevant in the future?

SMS will only continue to grow in importance, according to sinch.com 

The universal reach and dependability of SMS secures its place as a channel that enterprises will continue to use to engage with customers. Aided by the rollout of 5G, the IoT explosion will also provide an additional gust of wind in the SMS sails.

What is IoT? Put simply is it an abbreviation for the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ meaning anything that can be connected to the internet. 

It is hard to believe that when the first SMS was transmitted almost thirty years ago, no one could have imagined the impact it would have on the way we communicate. As we move towards 5G, SMS is one of the few mobile services that has managed to remain relevant and that will continue to flourish in a rapidly changing telecoms industry.

Which businesses can benefit from text messages?

Mostly all B2C! Almost any business can integrate text message into their communication with their current or prospect clients and receive great benefit from doing so. 

Nevertheless, one sector stands out amongst the crowd. It uses text messages to not only collect donations during the COVID-19 pandemic but also for the betterment of the community. That sector is charities. See our charity page here.

According to frobes.com texts have helped out the health industry, who have used text messages to help people improve themselves in things like weight loss One recent study found that smokers were twice as likely to quit when they took part in a program that did things like send back words of encouragement when participants typed “lapse” into their cell phones after breaking their abstinence, or typed “crave” to receive tips to get through cigarette cravings.

The SMS solutions can not only benefit business but also charities and other organisations of similar nature. If you are interested in utilising SMS or PSMS solutions in your organisation Simply request a call from our highly experienced team and we will help your business grow!


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