Mobile messaging adoption trends 2021

Topic: Esendex news

The number of people using mobile messaging apps is projected to grow to 3 billion by 2022 (Statista), but what does this dizzying growth mean for businesses searching for better ways to engage with their customers and staff? Esendex, working with leading professional services firm PwC, surveyed over 4,300 businesses across Europe and APAC to find out how mobile messaging adoption is evolving.

Note that mobile messaging is defined here as businesses communicating with staff or customers via SMS, and OTT messaging apps including WhatsApp, RCS, Apple Business Chat and Facebook Messenger.

Mobile messaging penetration

Mobile messaging is widely accepted and used across all business types, with 47% of respondents using mobile messaging overall. Our chart shows the distribution by country and by company size; penetration, as you can see, is lower in SMEs (39%) and higher in enterprise (58%). While there’s a clear gap, it is closing: our research found that 50% of new penetration from businesses intending to use mobile messaging is expected from SMEs.

Country distribution of messaging use, by company size

The main reason for lower adoption rates in the Netherlands, Germany and France is because the cost price of SMS is higher in these countries, whereas the return on investment is faster for countries such as the UK, Italy, Australia and Spain, where the cost price is lower.

The most popular communication types

For what reasons do businesses communicate with customers and staff? We aggregated these into 10 key use cases, of which internal communication was the most widely represented, followed by customer support. Business process management, or BPM, covers areas like job management, appointment booking, document delivery and digital letters. Identity and verification, or ID&V, would include two factor authentication.

On average, businesses use five of these use cases.

Once established, mobile messaging overtakes email

A key finding of the survey was that, across every use case, once a company adopts mobile messaging, it becomes the dominant communications channel, overtaking email, online chat and call centres. When you consider how integrated email is into most processes and operating systems, this is an incredible testament to the efficiency and effectiveness of mobile messaging.

Why do businesses choose SMS?

Looking specifically at SMS as a subset of mobile messaging, we wanted to know why this channel, fast approaching its 30th birthday, remains so popular. Respondents told us that it is SMS’ efficiency and effectiveness that they value the most, which, when you consider that 95% of all text messages are read, compared with 20% of emails, is not surprising. Its ease of customisation – the ability to add merge fields for personalised messaging – came a close second, with the low cost of SMS in third place.

Which industries are growing their use of SMS?

SMS usage is projected to increase over the next three years, particularly in IT & Telecoms, who grew their use of SMS by 35% in the last three years, and are projecting to grow it by 45% in the coming three years. That future growth is even higher in Financial Services and Banking, at 46%, and Retail / Wholesale isn’t far behind at 42%.

The reasons given for this growth are firstly that the ROI delivered via SMS is very high, and secondly, that customer preferences are driving increased volume.

Download our eBook for the full survey findings

If you would like to see the full results of our customer survey, please download the full eBook.

Author Avatar
Liz Wilson

I'm Liz Wilson, and I have the privilege of heading up the marketing team here at Esendex. I've seen marketing evolve from buying a list of email addresses and sending a cold message, to today's much more satisfying practice of delivering great content via multiple channels, and inviting people to engage with us on their terms. I hope you find our blog a valuable source of info and ideas; all feedback is welcome!