Research Shows the Global Popularity of SMS 30 Years After the First Message
Research from global cloud communications platform Infobip shows the global popularity of Short Message Service (SMS) within customer communications, 30 years after a software programmer sent the first message on 3 December 1992 remains immensely popular despite the rise of new communication channels, with a 75% increase in use in 2022 compared to 2021.
Infobip analyzed more than 153 billion communications interactions on its platform from the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. The study shows that SMS remains a top three channel in every region worldwide including Africa, Europe, Eurasia, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, India and Asia-Pacific.
With the highest open rates and return on investment, Infobip’s analysis shows that businesses and brands continue to use SMS for timely alerts and security solutions, including two-factor authentication. Highlighting the versatility of the channel, data from the analysis also shows that SMS made up 16% of total customer engagement and marketing interactions.
Ivan Ostojić, Chief Business Officer at Infobip, said: “As we reach the 30th anniversary of SMS, our data shows that it remains as popular as ever. SMS has evolved from a personal messaging platform to a key tool for business to consumer communications. Infobip has played a critical role in this evolution, enabling businesses and brands deliver billions of messages every year through our 700 direct telecom operator connections. As one of the most reliable and practical ways for brands to ensure their message reaches their customers, it is the go-to channel for time-sensitive alerts and security notifications. With its global reach and no reliance on internet connectivity, we expect SMS to continue to play a key role in future business-to-consumer communications.”
Infobip also finds that many sectors continue to rely on SMS. For instance:
- Banking and finance saw 68% more SMS interactions, where firms use SMS for timely alerts
- Retail and eCommerce recorded 22% more SMS interactions, where brands use it for retail marketing automation
- Telecoms saw 48% more SMS interactions, where firms rely on SMS for reliable, secure messaging with an international customer base
After working with companies from different industries across the East African region for more than 10 years, Marko Reis, Regional Manager East Africa, reflected on the evolution of SMS in the region: “Mobile text messaging has become the core feature of the smartphone era in Africa. With more than 220 million subscribers in East Africa, it is impossible to underestimate the importance and impact of this technology on emerging markets. Due to inconsistent data connectivity throughout the continent, SMS remains at the center of most communications activity across Africa and will continue to drive how people and businesses connect with each other. Infobip’s built-in compliance engine ensures that messages that businesses send comply with local law and provides additional level of security and compliance for our local clients.”
Ivan Ostojić, Chief Business Officer at Infobip, continued: “The original SMS message sent 30 years ago by 22-year-old software programmer Neil Papworth helped forge a path to global connectivity. That connectivity has evolved and rapidly grown in recent years, and Infobip now handles hundreds of billions of messages every year, reaching 75% of mobile phones globally. We look forward to continuing to be at the forefront of innovation and transformation in omnichannel communications, delighting customers on any channel, anywhere in the world.”