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More than 7 trillion SMS messages will be sent in 2011: ABI Research

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A study by ABI Research finds that consumers worldwide will send more than 7 trillion SMS messages in 2011, indicating a huge opportunity for marketers.

The study found that messaging is more prevalent among younger subscribers, and as they replace older subscribers, messaging will get a further boost. According to ABI, messaging includes four types of communication: SMS, MMS, mobile email and instant messaging.

“The key finding is the astounding number of SMS that gets sent annually,” said Neil Strother, practice director at ABI Research, Oyster Bay, NY. “Trillions of messages are sent across billions of mobile phones.

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“It is the key communication tool of the modern era,” he said. “It is a great place for marketers to communicate with consumers. 

“Marketers get consumers to spark the conversation via messages based on a trigger or keyword. With SMS, you can connect the consumer to other media such as a video.”

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies.

SMS growth
SMS is increasingly regarded as something of a commodity by users due to falling delivery costs and high competition.

When these trends towards commoditization are combined with the wider adoption of mobile email and IM services, the revenue proportion of SMS and MMS against the market total is expected to decline, per ABI.

Due to low PC penetration in emerging regions, for many consumers across Latin America, Africa and south Asia mobile devices will be the primary access point for email.

ABI found that the rate of mobile phone adoption will gradually decline over the next five years, and growth in number of new customers starting to use messaging will likewise slow gradually.

The future of mobile messaging will increasingly be in unified toolkits that mash up and converge text and multimedia messages, IM chats, emails and voicemails.

The fact that consumers are increasingly comfortable communicating via SMS means that brands could potentially use the channel to speak with them.

Already brands are building databases of mobile users and sending them news and information updates, as well as coupons.

With the expected growth in SMS for 2011, more brands will likely jump on the SMS marketing bandwagon.

"In 2011, marketers will continue to use SMS along with other mobile channels,” Mr. Strother said. “Not everyone has a smartphone, and communicating with those that do not via SMS is the best way to reach a wide audience.”

Giselle Tsirulnik is deputy managing editor on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily. Reach her at giselle@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Research, ABI Research, mobile marketing, SMS stats, seven trillion SMS messages, mobile

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Comments on "More than 7 trillion SMS messages will be sent in 2011: ABI Research"

  1. Patrick Young says:

    December 30, 2010 at 10:21am

    ABI is clueless on this. It's like the 1995 when some predicted the Internet was just a fad. The world has not yet begun to understand the capabilities of this technology.

    SMS text can be integrated into any business operations. As in 1995 when most had no idea how the Internet could benefit their business, that is where SMS text is today. In the next five years the use of SMS text will grow exponentially.

    I predict that by 2015 SMS text will eclipse what the Internet has done for business. Short Codes? We don't need short codes. You can add unlimited texting to an existing mobile phone account at less than $10 per month. All you need is the SIM card and a GPRS or CDMA modem. Short Codes and an SMS gateway will cost a minimum of $2000 per month.

    In a simplified approach, answer this question. How would you rather order a pizza? Phone it in? Order Online? Or text in your order?

    In my manufacturing business I typically email a PO. Then I have to phone it in to make sure the sales rep got the PO. Would it not be so much easier for my PC to talk via SMS to the distributors computer and consummate the order without any human involvement?

    Once upon a time toll free 800 numbers were the marketing panacea. Then the dot com bubble. Now most traditional marketing will include an 900 number and a website address. 800 numbers don't work any more. Voice mail hell, being put on hold, most likely you leave a message which is never returned.

    Websites? If you have a Website that requires a desktop browser, start revamping it to mobile now!

    When the call to action is send a text, where is the downside? I get a post card in the mail with an 800 number, a website, and a text number. My mobile in in my pocket. The 800 number? Not going to happen. Website? Am I going to immediately go over and fire up the PC wait for it to boot then struggle typing in the correct dot com? It would have to be one hell of a post card. I don't think so. If I have any interest at all, I'll pull out the mobile and send the text.

    SMS is a very simple interactive medium. 11 Trillion? I remember when million was a big number. Well here are the next numbers you will be hearing when they announce SMS usage in 2015, Quadrillion and Quintillion. And that my friends is the rest of the story. Good Day!
  2. Jonathan Madnick says:

    December 30, 2010 at 9:00am

    7 trillion is a very big number of person to person messaging between people with mobile phone numbers. I understand that application to person and person to application is in that number too. Anyone have an estimate of non P2P traffic?
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