September 28, 2012
Short Message Services Still Rule the Mobile World
Despite the much ballyhooed demise of SMS, which has been attributed to the rising popularity of the smartphone, there is considerable evidence that texting is still the most dominant form of communication on wireless devices. According to Portio Research , the number of SMS messages sent in 2011 topped 7.8 trillion. Portio goes on to predict that SMS messaging will increase 23 percent to a total of 9.6 trillion.
The dimming of SMS messaging’s popularity among marketing and industry experts is largely a result of the gaining market share of smartphones and tablets which can run applications that may impress mobile device users enough to supersede SMS messaging services. The growing popularity of some of these apps has sidelined many businesses from investing heavily in marketing strategies that are SMS based. While this may be a winning strategy in more developed parts of the world where the smartphones overshadow less robust types of phones, in the majority of the world, phones are utilized primarily for their messaging, and to a lesser degree, their voice utilities.
To support the contention that mobile device users will remain heavily dependent on SMS, mobiThinking completed a study showing that only 16 percent of the world’s six billion mobile subscribers possess app-enabled devices. This suggests that while an app-centric marketing campaign may be effective in some markets, there is a huge majority of global consumers that are being missed. This may shift in coming years as smartphones begin to penetrate untapped markets, but there considerations like the robustness of mobile infrastructure and the expense of pricey mobile data plans that may limit utilization of smartphones.
On the other hand, SMS is expected to grow steadily in the coming years. Informa predicts that SMS messaging will expand by 60 percent from 2011 to 2016, and control 42 percent of the market.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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