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December 3, 2012

Texting is now more popular than talking

In 2011 more than 150 billion messages were sent in the UK.

By Tineka Smith


An Ofcom study celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first text ever sent reveals that the average UK consumer now sends 50 text messages a week.

SMS has changed the way people communicate, with the amount of messages sent in the UK tripling in the last five years.

Texting is the most preferred way to communicate amongst young people. An average of 193 texts are sent every week by 12-15 year olds which is higher than the UK average. The amount has doubled from last year when only 91 texts were sent per week.

Ofcom’s 2012 Communications Market Report revealed that teenagers and young adults choose texting to stay in touch with friends and family rather than talking face-to-face. The report found that 90% of 16-24 year used texting to communicate.

Talking on the phone is less popular among young adults with only 67% making mobile calls daily and only 63% talking face to face.

"When texting was first conceived many saw it as nothing more than a niche service," said James Thicket, Ofcom’s director of research. "Texts have now surpassed traditional phone calls and meeting face to face as the most frequent way of keeping in touch for UK adults, revolutionising the way we socialise, work and network."

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While texting has become increasingly popular, Ofcom reveals that the volume of sms messages have declined this year.
In Q1 2012 the amount of text messages sent fell to 39.1 billion from 38.5 billion in Q4 2011. In Q2 2012 the number continued to decline with 38.5 billion messages sent.

The research suggests that alternative forms of communication, such as social networking sites could be the reason for the sms decline. The recent increase of tablet ownership could also be responsible for the trend.

"For the first time in history of mobile phones, SMS volumes are showing signs of decline. However the availability of a wider range of communications tools like instant messaging and social networking sites, mean that people might be sending fewer SMS messages, but they are ‘texting’ more than ever before."



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