Text Message Statistics & Trends for 2024 [And Beyond!]

  • SMS/Text Messaging
  • Email Archiving
  • Social Media
  • Text Message Statistics & Trends for 2024 [And Beyond!]

    Texting is one of the most popular forms of electronic communication, with billions of people sending and receiving Short Message Service (SMS) messages each day. To put things into perspective, mobile phone users in the U.S. alone sent 2 trillion text messages in 2021. That’s nearly 6 billion messages per day, and 227 million messages per hour.

    While these figures might seem astounding, it’s easy to see why text messaging is so prevalent: It offers people a fast, convenient way to communicate with family and friends, enabling them to connect across global regions and time zones. Texting has become so popular that it’s also consumers’ preferred form of communication, with 81% of consumers saying that they’ve signed up for text messages from a business or organization.

    In this article, we’ll look at major text messaging statistics and trends, offering insights into this incredibly popular medium and how it can impact your business.

    A Brief History of Text Messaging

    Though the concept of sending short, text-based electronic messages dates back to the 1930s with the Telex service in Europe, text messaging as we know it began in 1992, when Sema Group Telecoms (now Mavenir) engineer Neil Papworth sent the words “Merry Christmas” over the Vodafone network to a colleague. The earliest forms of text messaging were subject to strict, 160-character limits due to SMS protocols — far cry from modern text messages, which can encompass thousands of characters.

    Increased character limits isn’t the only advancement in texting technology — here are a few highlights:

    • The introduction of Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) in 2002 enabled mobile users to send multimedia content, such as pictures and videos, via text.
    • The rise of smartphones and messaging apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Signal revolutionized texting, providing more features, group messaging and internet-based messaging.
    • The advent of Rich Communication Services (RCS), a communication protocol that enhances SMS capabilities, has led to significant improvements to text messaging, including high-quality media sharing, read receipts, typing indicators, end-to-end encryption and integration with other services.

    12 Can’t-Miss Text Message Statistics [& What They Signify]

    It’s impossible to overstate how integral mobile devices — and, as a result, texting — are to how we communicate. For evidence of this, look no further than these text message statistics:

    1. The vast majority (97%) of Americans have a mobile phone, 85% of which are smartphones. Additionally, over half of the global population (54%) owns a smartphone. This widespread adoption highlights the important role mobile phones play in people’s lives as essential tools for communication and accessing information. The prevalence of smartphones, in particular, indicates the shift beyond basic telecommunications as people increasingly rely on handheld devices for internet connectivity and media consumption.

    2. Smartphone adoption is universal amongst individuals aged 18–29 and 30–49, with both demographics boasting a 100% ownership rate. These figures emphasize the intrinsic connection between younger generations and mobile technology and indicate that these devices have become indispensable tools, not only for communication, but also for accessing information and entertainment and managing daily tasks.

    3. Not to be discounted, 97% of individuals aged 50–64 and 92% aged 65+ own smartphones. Given that many millennials and all of Gen Z are digital natives, it’s unsurprising that they have a slight edge on smartphone ownership over older generations. However, it’s clear that smartphones are now essential across all demographics, including those that predate the rise of mobile technology.

    4. Text messaging (92%) is one of the most widely used forms of communication in the U.S., second only to phone calls (95%). There are many reasons for this, including text messaging’s speed, convenience and ability to create a written record of all communications for future reference. Younger generations, in particular, prefer texting to more traditional forms of communication because they see it as less disruptive and appreciate the ability to respond to messages according to their own schedule.

    5. Texting is consumers’ preferred communication channel, with 81% of consumers saying they’ve signed up for text messages from a business or organization. Revisiting this statistic, consumers have come to expect immediacy and convenience not only in their personal communications, but also in their interactions with brands. Recognizing this trend, businesses and other organizations have adapted their marketing and communication strategies to include texting, which enables them to connect with their customer base on a more personal level.

    6. Business text messaging is a two-way street, with 31% of consumers saying they’ve texted a business or organization in the past year, and 70% saying they receive at least two B2C text messages each day. These figures go to show that consumers are not only comfortable initiating contact with businesses over text, but expect businesses to leverage this channel for relevant and timely communications. Businesses and organizations that embrace the shift to text message communications often report higher levels of customer satisfaction and are able to deliver a better overall customer experience.

    7. SMS message response times are faster than ever, with 59% of consumers responding to B2C text messages within five minutes, and 77% responding within 15 minutes. SMS has proven to be an effective means of capturing consumers’ attention and driving engagement, making it an ideal channel for personalized marketing campaigns and real-time customer service.

    8. Consumers expect businesses and organizations to return the favor, with 42% saying they expect a response within 15 minutes. Businesses can set up auto-reply messages to ensure rapid response times, but it’s important to follow up shortly after with more personalized messages. Many SMS management platforms are set up for this specific purpose, enabling businesses and other organizations to categorize and prioritize incoming messages and respond within a certain window of time.

    9. Businesses that use text messages to communicate with consumers are over 217% more successful than those who don’t. This success is inclusive of overall customer satisfaction, conversion rates, business performance and other metrics. This demonstrates how vital it is for businesses to make texting an integral component of their marketing and customer service strategies.

    10. In addition to overall success, over 90% of businesses that text their customers report marketing success. Texting is a low-risk, low-cost and relatively low-effort way to deliver personalized messaging to consumers and increase overall engagement, making it the perfect complement to other marketing campaigns.

    11. In 2021, consumers logged 378,119 complaints over unwanted text messages, including smishing attempts, with the Federal Trade Commission. While text messages can be a smart way to connect with consumers, it’s important that businesses and organizations give people the opportunity to opt-out of B2C messages at any time. Failure to do so could lead to FTC complaints, as well as lower rates of customer satisfaction, loss of business and reputational damage.

    12. Speaking of smishing and other forms of phishing, consumers reported total losses of $86 million in 2021 due to text-based scams. While it doesn’t apply directly to B2C texting, this text messaging statistic highlights growing concerns around text-based fraud. Businesses and organizations can offset some of this risk by implementing strong security protocols for all text messages, such as end-to-end encryption, and educating their consumers (and employees) on how to recognize text-based scams.

    Regulatory Oversight for Ephemeral Messaging

    Ephemeral messaging — a form of text messaging in which messages disappear after a period of time — has gained traction in B2C communications due to its ability to preserve consumers’ privacy, security and (in some cases) anonymity. However, ephemeral messaging also poses challenges for businesses because it prevents them from creating an archival record of text communications, which is a requirement for many industry regulations.

    The Department of Justice recently released guidance around ephemeral messaging, making it clear that any organization — particularly those in the financial services sector — that fails to produce this type of content upon request could face civil or criminal penalties. As business-related electronic communications, including SMS messages, continue to evolve, we can expect to see further regulation and legislation to protect consumer privacy and ensure ethical conduct.

    Text-to-Pay & Text-to-Give

    Alternative payment methods such as digital and mobile wallets have gained traction in recent years, offering consumers an easy alternative to traditional cash-, credit- or debit-based payments. Text messages look to be the next frontier of alternative payments, with organizations exploring text-to-pay for eCommerce transactions and text-to-give for donations.

    These are exactly what they sound like: contactless payment methods that enable consumers to send money to organizations over text. Also known as SMS payments, this payment method makes it easy for consumers to make purchases, donations or even pay bills, creating a frictionless customer experience.

    Transactional Texting

    Though it may sound similar to our previous trend, transactional texting refers to the use of text messaging to facilitate and confirm various transactions, such as order confirmations, appointment scheduling, delivery notifications, payment reminders and customer service interactions. Given that the average person spends about 4.5 hours on their phone each day, transactional SMS is an easy way to get consumers’ attention, send important updates and optimize the customer experience.

    The Rise of RCS

    Although RCS was first introduced in 2008 and adopted by mobile carriers in 2012, it’s taken some time to gain traction, with many carriers reluctant to move away from traditional SMS and MMS. But the tide has turned: Longtime holdout Apple recently announced that it will support RCS in 2024, prompting new interest in and support for the messaging protocol.

    With RCS, businesses can offer consumers improved messaging experiences for both marketing and customer service, including high-resolution multimedia content, typing indicators, enhanced branding and designed elements such as interactive buttons and carousels.

    Whether your organization intends to use text and SMS messages for marketing, customer service or even internal communications, it’s essential that you have a text message archiving platform in place to ensure compliance with current and emerging regulations. Our free buyer’s guide is intended to help you find the right solution for your business and make an informed decision — download it today to get started.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How many text messages are sent per day?
    Mobile phone users in the U.S. alone sent 2 trillion messages per day in 2021, which breaks down to 6 billion messages per day, and 227 million messages per hour. Though there are no definitive global figures, some sources claim that 23 billion text messages are sent worldwide each day.

    When was the first text message sent?
    Engineer Neil Papworth sent the very first text message — which read “Merry Christmas” — to a colleague on December 3, 1992.

    When did texting become popular in the United States?
    Although SMS has existed since 1984 and the first text message was sent in 1992, text messaging didn’t gain traction in the U.S. until 2000, when the number of mobile phone users began to grow. Since then, SMS usage in the U.S. has skyrocketed, with Americans sending roughly 6 billion texts per day.

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    As the chief operating officer and co-founder of Intradyn, Adnan brings 20+ years of experience in the email retention and archiving space to shape Intradyn’s archiving solutions. As COO, Adnan oversees the company’s financial and human resources operations and takes the lead in managing the original equipment manufacturer relationship. Adnan provides wide-ranging oversight of Intradyn’s day-to-day operations to drive greater operational efficiency and grow the company’s global capabilities.

    Along with his business partner, Adnan successfully spun out Intradyn’s archiving business from Mirapoint Software Inc., where he held the position of vice president. Mirapoint Software was primarily focused on archiving solutions for program offices, customer support, corporate infrastructure and the supply chain. Prior to that, Adnan managed complex Internet Channel group projects at eFunds Corporation (now Fidelity National Information Services).

    Adnan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Minnesota State University and a Master of Business Administration in IT and Finance from the University of St. Thomas.

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