SMS and the new normal

Global SMS and Usage Statistics

Image Credit: GSMA Intelligence


The number of mobile users is increasing and will continue to grow.   [1]GSMA report mobile users are expected to reach 5.7 billion by the end of 2020 increasing the global penetration of mobile phones to 72 percent.  Further, in developed nations like Australia, UK and USA  there has been a significant increase in the  adoption of smartphones giving opportunity for an increase in the use direct to mobile messaging options like SMS and MMS as a guaranteed delivery channel to the consumer.

Let us look at some of the global SMS  usage statistics.

  •  By 2024, the global application to person (A2P) SMS API market will reach $245.9 million based on a CAGR of 4.1 percent from 2017 to 2024.
  • A2P SMS market will grow at a CAGR of 4.2 to reach  revenues of $86.53 billion by 2025
  • The A2P SMS market is stronger in the USA, growing at 6.2 percent to reach  expected volumes revenues of $31.7 billion in 2022, with developed nations like UK and Australia playing catch-up.
  • Phone users read over 90 percent of text messages within three minutes of receipt.
  • A 2019 survey reveals that 76 percent of mobile phone users in the UK send text messages on a daily basis.
  • Revenues from SMS in the second quarter of 2019 in the UK amounted to £142 million


  • The average response time for a text message is 90 seconds while email has an average response time of two days.


  • According to Finances Online, 90 percent of people in the US prefer to receive SMS over phone calls.


  • Retailers that use promotional SMS for their CRM initiatives enjoy a 23.3 percent conversion rate.


  • Compared to calls64 percent of customers prefer using two-way text messages when interacting with customer service. Most of these customers are younger people and they cite efficiency and convenience as their top reasons for preferring text messages.



  • Messages sent by text  convert at 9.18 percent, which is several times higher than the 0.9 percent and 1.91 percent of Facebook and Google Ads, respectively.


More  SMS Usage Statistics



  • Eighty-five percent of consumers and buyers want to go beyond receiving just information from businesses, they want to hold text conversions with these businesses.


  • The fastest growing marketing channel is customers opting in to receive business text messaging services. In 2016, 37.2 million customers used this channel,  in 2020 48.7 million customers in the US are choosing the channel.


  • SMS open rate stands at 98 percent because receivers must read them before they delete them. Whereas, open rates for Facebook posts, email messages, and Tweets stand at 12 percent, 20 percent, and 29 percent, respectively.


  • HubSpot reports that the average click through rate of URLs in text messages is 19 percent, meanwhile, email stands at 4.2 percent.


  • The US mobile messaging app usage, including SMS app usage, will go from 161.6 million users in 2020 to hit 171.3 million users in 2022. This growth will go from 56.1 percent of the US population to 58.1 percent of US users.


  • SMS Comparison further reveals that SMS has a higher clickthrough rate (CTR) when compared to other marketing like Facebook and Google AdWords. The Click-through rate for SMS stands at 9.18 percent, while Facebook and Google AdWords have a CTR of 0.90 percent and 1.91 percent, respectively



  • Sixty-two percent of buyers are not getting SMS notifications from retailers. In Travel and Hospitality, 75 percent of travellers and vacationers are not receiving any SMS communication from train operators, hotels, and airlines.


  • According to SMS Comparison, nine out of ten customers will prefer to communicate with companies via text message. That stat applies to one-way communication by alerts, reminders, and notifications, or two-way communications.


  • Mobile marketing, including SMS marketing, is driving more purchases for businesses in 2020. Businesses in these three industries are seeing the most increase in sales due to mobile marketing: 54 percent of restaurants, 40 percent of apparels and beauty, and 36 percent of electronics.


  • According to Rebrandly, using branded links on your SMS campaigns will increase trust and the clickthrough rate by 39 percent, as well as  boost brand visibility and brand memory.


  • The top four reasons why consumers pay attention to a marketing message in their mobile phone are:
    • brand familiarly at 54 percent,
    • content that’s interesting and creative at 52 percent,
    • excellent timing at 41 percent,
    • promotional offers such as coupons at 41 percent.


Researchers expect to see 49 million consumers opting to receive marketing messages from brands in 2020. Following the COVID-19 outbreak,

Gartner says that SMS will become  vital for businesses that want to keep touch with their audiences and customers at this time.



According  to Forrester’s Predictions for 2021 – CMOs will reinvent themselves and their teams, and their spend on loyalty and retention marketing will increase by 30% as CMOs assert control over the full customer lifecycle.

SMS and it’s visual sibling MMS remain the most underutilized, yet most engaging marketing and communication channel.  In 2021 we will witness its adoption across multiple industries including financial services, retail,  healthcare, hospitality, transportation, and more.   With a massive open rate of 98 percent, SMS and MMS  has the potential to deliver significant value for businesses.

As a marketer, SMS and MMS  communications means your customers will read your message. Furthermore, messaging  can help businesses boost customer reach. They can improve customer engagement, improve brand memory  and increase revenues. Businesses that engage in messaging marketing will continue to enjoy these enormous benefits if they employ the right strategies.

MobileDigital       October 2021


[1] The Global Association of Mobile Companies.

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