SMS statistics and usage. Review of 2018 for everything you need to know

checking performance based on sms statistics

You are considering the use of sms advertising for the promotion of your product or business, but you are unsure if it's the right fit.

Well, look no further as we have gathered the most important statistics for you to see before you kick-off your SMS campaign.

If you want to learn how to advertise by SMS the right way, be sure to check out our article on text message advertising.

Now onto the text message statistics...

When researching the statistics behind SMS advertising, you would be forgiven for thinking the information out there is pretty outdated.

A google search for “SMS statistics” will show a lot of SEO-optimized pages, but you won’t get much use from the content.

Is it too much to ask, to find reliable data to back up your investment?

If you don’t want to dig through statistics dating back to 2010 (like the infamous 98% text message open rate stat), then you’re in luck. This article looks back through the most recent studies and picks out the real data that you need to know.


This article will stick to two rules for reliability:

1) Up-to-dateness

Every single fact mentioned below comes from surveys and other research conducted no earlier than in 2015, and preferably in 2018.

2) Clear attribution

There are direct links to original reports rather than just mentioning them.


Text Message Statistics

We should start by learning how many SMS-enabled cell phones there currently are in the world, how many people own a cell phone, and why text messaging still captures twice as much of the market as any other mobile advertising tool.

1) Out of the world's total 7.9 billion mobile connections, 3.3 billion are associated with basic non-smartphones. Meaning that text messages still reach 40% of customers that cannot access any other mobile advertising medium. (2)

2) Due to inactive subscriptions and multiple device ownership, the number of subscriptions exceeds the number of unique subscribers. There are a total of around 5.6 billion unique mobile subscribers. (2)

3) Even though the number of smartphone subscriptions surpasses basic phones (4), feature phones will remain the primary device in many developing markets for many years to come. (1)


SMS advertising statistics

Moving on, here’s what marketers need to know about SMS behaviour in 2018.

1) 97% of respondents say they open every text message they receive. For advertising, these statistics of open text messages are excellent and provide many possibilities. (7)

2) Operator-provided voice and SMS usage in many markets has increased. (2) Because a growing proportion of mobile plans now offer unlimited voice and messaging. (1)

3) The average number of texts received per day by a millennial is 67. The average text response time is 90 seconds. (3)

4) Mobile users send 22 billion texts per day globally. (3)

5) More than 80% of consumers have notifications turned on for native SMS apps. (6)

6) 62% of smartphone users check their phones immediately after waking up. 79% check theirs within 15 minutes of waking up. (7)


Demographics in text message figures

Next, let’s look at some differences in SMS usage between demographic groups.

1) There is a significant gender gap in mobile ownership: women are 10% less likely to own a mobile phone than men in developing markets. (4)

2) Women tend to use mobile services less frequently or less intensively than men. (4)

3) In America, 92% of millennials own smartphones, compared with 67% of people aged 54-72. (5)  


Text messaging in business

What insights can we glean into customer attitudes toward SMS advertising?

1) 66% of consumers prefer to reach or be reached by brands via messaging over any other means. (6)

2) 85% of consumers want their text message communication with brands to be two-way conversations. (6)

3) 31% of consumers will respond to an SMS survey. The average response time is less than six minutes. (7)

4) 90% of customers reported a preference for SMS contact over phone calls. (7)

5) 83% of consumers would prefer no more than two text messages from a company per month. (7)


Summary of stats on texting

1) According to the Gartner 2016 Digital Channel Survey, SMS is currently one of the top four most popular advertising tools. 61% of mobile marketers surveyed don’t use it. (8)

2) SMS achieves a 209% higher response rate compared with phone calls, email or Facebook (9)

3) Estimated that 49 million consumers will opt-in to SMS advertising by 2020 (9)


So, that was 20 SMS statistics you can use to build a foundation for your text advertising efforts in 2019. Just remember that SMS advertising works better when it’s automated, so feel free to learn how you can leverage the power of Apifonica SMS API for text advertising automation, bulk sms, and SMS alerts here.


Source list

1. GSMA Global Mobile Economy Report 2018

2. Ericsson Mobility Report, November 2018

3. Email v SMS stats, February 2018

4. GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report, 2018

5. Pewter Research Center, May 2018

6. Twilio Mobile Communications study, September 2016

7. Text Savvy, February 2017

8. Smarter with Gartner, November 2016

9. SMS Business Trends 2018, April 2018