Sunday, January 31, 2010

SMS continues to grow in the UK

The Mobile Data Association has released it’s latest SMS and MMS usage figures for the UK. And interesting reading they are too. MMS or picture messaging is still a tiny proportion of overall messaging, but it is there and it is increasing.

According to the MDA, the continued growth of messaging is highlighted by a 2009 daily average of 265 million text messages and 1.6 million picture messages. 2009’s text message total was 96.8 billion (a 23% increase on 2008), while over 600 million picture messages were sent across the whole year.

Seasonal drivers still appear to propel the use of Picture Messaging, with 4.5 million picture messages being sent on Christmas Day itself – hence the spike in traffic in December -  while Network Operators’ figures also indicated an upturn in picture messaging during the recent cold snap. I’m guessing lots of people were comparing the snow in their area with friends and family.

Text messaging traffic over the recent festive period continued to rise proportionately.

Christmas Day    Increase on      NYE/ Day      Increase on 
2009                       2008                       2009/10                  2008
441,805,870          31%                   874,033,799               21% 

Assessing the findings of the MDA’s report, Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst at Quocirca, said: "New generation touchscreen handsets and the bundling of SMS messages into many tariffs has made texting easier, and seen its role develop. Now it is not only a convenient medium for a quick chat with friends, but also a way of participating in television voting and raising funds for needy charities. When a powerful call to action is given, the population of the UK often turn first towards their mobile phones." This is borne out with the recent campaigns to raise funds for BBC Children in Need and the DEC appeal for Haiti.

Q4 2009 Statistical findings

Text Messaging (SMS)

Total number of text messages (SMS) sent in:
2009 total 96.8 billion
2008 total 78.9 billion
2007 total 56.9 billion

sms figs 2009 graph

Video and Picture messages (MMS)

radio 1 mosaic mms dayCampaigns like the Radio 1 Free MMS Day appear to have had an effect on the figures by attracting 42,000 messages to the BBC radio station in just 24 hours with viewers contributing to an online mosaic of all their images (moderated of course). Let’s see if MMS continues to grow in 2010. The growth rate between 2008 and 2009 was just 9%, averaging 1.6m MMS per day. However, I’m in no doubt that SMS will continue to grow in 2010 and beyond.

Total number of picture messages (MMS) sent in:
2009 total 601 million
2008 total 553 million
2007 total 449 million

mms 2009 GraphData


mms yoy 0809 comparison GraphData 

Source: Mobile Data Association / Text.It