mGage Blog

Celebrating 28 Years of SMS

28 years ago today, on December 3rd, 1992, Neil Papworth sent the first SMS by typing “Merry Christmas” on a computer and sending it to Richard Jarvis at Vodafone. Thus, the first version of the modern-day text message we all know and love was born.

It’s hard to imagine a life without texting, but the technology didn’t catch on right away. Most early mobile phones did not support the ability to send texts and operators were slow to decide on a way to bill customers for the service. In 1995, GSM customers sent an average of only .4 text messages per day[1]. These days most people send much more than one text per day, with the average person sharing 15 messages with friends, family, coworkers, and even businesses per day[2].

SMS is a powerful tool for brands and consumers alike. Whether you’re sending discounts to thousands of customers in seconds or simply catching up with a friend, SMS connects all of us every day. Today we are celebrating 28 years of SMS by sharing 28 powerful stats about the many ways it makes life a little easier and brighter.


SMS Engagement Stats

  1. SMS has a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook (Mobile Xco)
  2. SMS open rates are as high as 98%, compared to just 20% of all emails (Campaign Monitor)
  3. 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes (SlickText)
  4. It takes, on average, 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text (CTIA)
  5. The average SMS campaign conversion rate is 45% (Salesforce)

Consumer Texting Habits 

  1. 5 billion people in the world can send and receive SMS messages (Text Magic)
  2. 74% of cell phone and smartphone users have no unread text messages (Zipwhip)
  3. Americans now check their phones 96 times a day – that’s once every 10 minutes and a 20% increase from 2 years ago (Asurion)
  4. Consumers spend more time texting on their phones than doing nearly any other mobile activity, including social media, gaming, online shopping, and watching videos (EZ Texting)
  5. It’s not just for millennials – 43% of consumers age 60 and older check their text messages at least three times per hour (EZ Texting)
  6. Over half of consumers (61%) get uncomfortable when their phone isn’t near them (Avochato)
  7. 91% of all US mobile users keep their phones within arm’s reach at all times (connect mogul)
  8. 40% of consumers say they try to text business numbers without even knowing whether the number can receive texts (Zipwhip)

SMS for Marketing

  1. Consumers redeem SMS-delivered coupons about 10 times more than other coupon types (Point of Sale)
  2. 70% of consumers think SMS marketing is a great way for businesses to get their attention (G2)
  3. 75% of consumers want to receive texts with special offers (SmallBizDaily)
  4. SMS produces engagement rates 6-8 times higher than retailers normally achieve via email marketing when used for redemption, data collection, and brand awareness (Retail Dive)
  5. 59% of people say that a promotional SMS has led them to visit a store or go online to check out a brand (Message Media)
  6. 69% of people would prefer an unfamiliar company to contact them via text rather than a phone call (Avochato)

SMS for Customer Service

  1. 83% of consumers would like to receive appointment reminders via text, but only 20% of businesses send them this way (G2)
  2. 70% of consumers want to use mobile messaging to troubleshoot issues (GSMA)
  3. 97% of companies found they communicated with consumers more efficiently after launching texting initiatives (GSMA)
  4. 71% of consumers say using text messaging to communicate with a business was effective (MMA Global)
  5. Sending business appointment reminders to customers through SMS reduced missed appointments by 26% (Statista)
  6. 67% of smartphone users in the US like to receive service-based messages from their banks (TextMagic)

SMS for Operations

  1. 70% of employees think that companies should use texting for internal communication (Prism Global)
  2. 80% of people are currently using texting for business (eWeek)
  3. 2 in 5 employees ignore HR emails and nearly half said receiving less emails would improve their job satisfaction (SlickText)


These are just 28 of the many reasons brands leverage SMS for marketing, customer service, operations, and more! If you’re ready to get started with SMS, contact us today.

[1] GSM

[2] State of Texting Report, 2019

Share this with a friend:

Tell us the best way to reach you.

Upcoming Webinar2021 Mobile Predictions

Gain insight into 2021 mobile predictions and how brands across all industries use text messaging to pivot their communication strategy and stay connected with customers.