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40 SMS Marketing Statistics Every Marketer Should See

As 95% of people own mobile phones and short messaging system (SMS) does not need an Internet connection, businesses are bound to make the most of these technologies. SMS marketing statistics show SMS is indeed increasingly becoming a core feature of mobile marketing software.

In this SMS marketing research, we’ll look into SMS marketing market size, the effectiveness of SMS with consumers, how businesses use SMS, and what the future holds for text marketing.

After you’re done with this reading, you just might consider boosting your other channels with SMS marketing. One thing is for sure; you’ll see SMS in a whole new light.

In-depth Guide on SMS Marketing for Ecommerce (FREE)

General SMS Statistics

Since the first text message was sent in 1992, SMS has remained largely the same – short (160 characters) and straightforward. This simplicity has driven its massive use, adoption, and staying power. How are developments in the texting landscape? Let’s find out.

  • In 1995, the average American user sent 0.4 texts per month. As phones and networks became more advanced, and texting could be done between networks, SMS usage increased. By 2000, the average number of text messages sent in the US grew to 35 per person each month.
  • By 2007, texting hit 1 billion daily messages and became the most widely used form of communication, overtaking phone calls.
  • In 2010, an estimated 6.1 trillion messages were sent globally or around 193,000 messages per second.
  • No exact SMS usage can be arrived at because data from mobile carriers are hard to get. There is also now heavy usage of WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat, and similar text messaging apps. However, we put together available figures for SMS and in-app, and we’re looking at an estimated 145 billion messages sent each day around the world.

Demographics & Usage

  • Among 13 to 17-year-olds in the US, the favorite way of communicating in 2018 was texting (35%). It was followed by in-person (32%), social media (16%), and video chatting (10%).
  • In comparison, adults have preferred texting as the top form of communication for at least six years now.
  • American adults in 2018, on average, sent and received 32 texts per day. Considering there are 250 million US adults, the total adds up to 18 billion texts per day, 541 billion texts each month, and 6.5 trillion texts every year.
  • Text is the single most used feature of a smartphone. In fact, 97% of all smartphone users have texted within the last week. Despite mobile devices taking up the majority of web traffic, people text more than they use the Internet.
  • 59% of US adults say they have used their cellphones to call or text someone while inside a store to discuss purchases they’re planning to make.
  • 96% of adults in the US own a “cell-phone” of some kind. But 15% of the American population does not have internet connection via a smartphone and has access only to basic SMS services.  That’s roughly 52.5 million Americans that can only be reached by text messaging.
  • On a global scale, 5 billion people own a cell-phone of some kind, and 2.29 billion can be reached through SMS/cellular and not via the Internet.

Is SMS Marketing Effective?

SMS is now becoming an integral feature of leading mobile marketing solutions. You can send text messages online or offline, from mobile devices, and from desktop or laptop computers to boost SMS campaigns. How effective is it? The SMS marketing data below, with a focus on customer impact and preference, provides some insights.

  • 9 out of 10 consumers prefer to communicate with businesses through text messages, whether through alerts, reminders, back and forth communication, etc.
  • In fact, 80% of people use SMS for business communications, finding it convenient, unobtrusive, and fast with near-instant delivery of messages.
  • More than 50% of consumers would prefer text messaging over phone calls for customer support rather than phone calls. Moreover, US consumers are 5x more likely to send and receive text messages than phone calls.
  • 75% of customers would like special offers sent to them through text messages. Furthermore, CTR for text messages is much higher (9.18%), compared to other marketing channels such as Google Adwords (1.91%) and Facebook (0.90%).
  • A third of Millennials prefer SMS messages for deliveries, promotions, and surveys. 
  • Among the channels preferred by consumers for receiving loyalty updates from brands, the top spot went to SMS (48%). Other channels include email (22%), app notifications (20%), and direct mail (8%).
  • SMS is the preferred channel for consumers because opting in is easy. Furthermore, they don’t have to download a brand’s app to receive notifications. Also, SMS is a more direct push notification that won’t get lost in the inbox like email.

Open & Response Rates

  • SMS marketing beats email marketing with a 98% open rate and only 1% spam.
  • In contrast, email only has a 20% open rate but 49.7% spam.
  • 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of being received.
  • It takes just 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message.
  • While only 20% of people answer calls they don’t expect, texts are read in 5 seconds on average.
  • There is a 45% response rate for SMS messages compared to just 8% for email. Interaction is also much higher, with a click-through rate of 36% for SMS and a mere 3.4% for email.
  • Another source puts the response rate for email at just 6%. If SMS is at 45%, then that would mean a staggering 750% response rate over email. In other words, when promos and offers are sent via SMS, they are much likely to be opened, responded to, and lead to sales.

SMS Marketing & Business Statistics

How are businesses and companies leveraging SMS for marketing? And what have been business responses to consumers’ seeming preference for SMS marketing? Our SMS marketing report found some interesting details.

  • Despite the SMS boom, 61% of businesses have yet to embrace the platform.
  • But it’s about to change. Businesses are increasingly adopting text messaging as a communication tool. Today, 39% of businesses use some form of texting to communicate with customers. Certain industries such as real estate (73%), agriculture/veterinary (65%), and entertainment/leisure (63%) are expanding their use of SMS.
  • Pursuant to more SMS adoption, 73% of businesses plan to increase their SMS budgets in 2019.
  • 47% of marketers believe the retail industry uses SMS most effectively.
  • Over 50% of consumers have tried to reply to a missed call via text. For businesses that are not text-enabled, those are missed messages from potential customers. 
  • Furthermore, 75% of consumers are frustrated when they cannot respond to a business text message because of limitations with certain kinds of testing tools such as short-code texting.
  • 81% of professionals say they use texting for business.
  • Using branded links or vanity URLs in SMS marketing campaigns can increase brand visibility and boost CTRs by up to 39%.
  • 33% of businesses pan to target loyal customers via SMS rewards.
  • 77% of consumers are likely to have a positive perception of a company that offers to text.
  • Sending business appointment reminders to customers through SMS reduced missed appointments by 26%.
  • Up to 80% of consumers preferred to track their orders via text when products were shipped.

The Future of SMS Marketing

What awaits texting in general and SMS marketing in particular in the years ahead? Here are developments and projections shaping up SMS for business.

  • 3.5 trillion SMS business messages will be sent in 2023, up from an estimated 2.5 trillion in 2019.
  • By 2021, Rich Communication Service (RCS) is projected to be worth $75 billion, driven by greater adoption. RCS will combine SMS with other chat apps to provide a messaging channel that will feature group chat, video, read receipts, and other high-level functionality features.
  • Chatbots will utilize AI technologies like machine learning and natural language programming to effectively converse with customers via SMS. They can send customers instant replies, reminders, and answers to FAQs.

Include Texting in Your Marketing Mix

Marketers consider SMS as the Twitter of digital marketing. Which is kind of ironic – an analog tool in the digital age. But it is indeed the SMS attribute of not requiring the Internet to send and receive messages that make it a convenient tool for marketing.

While our separate mobile marketing statistics show there are billions of mobile device owners, not all cellphones they carry are Web-capable smartphones. That means there is a huge untapped audience for businesses and an overlooked and underutilized tool in SMS for marketers.

However, as our SMS marketing data indicates, there is a resurgence in the utilization of SMS for business. Major industries, such as real estate, entertainment, construction, automotive, and education, among others, are reaping the benefits of SMS marketing.

Even the banking and finance industries can provide instant account notifications to clients via SMS.

The good thing with SMS is that you don’t have to use it as a standalone marketing tool. It can be used to support your email marketing software, for example.

Other companies setting MS in tandem with their sales or marketing automation software.

The point is that you can include SMS in your marketing mix to make your campaigns more effective. If you haven’t been leveraging SMS for promotions and marketing, now is the opportune time to do this.

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