What is the open rate for SMS in 2018?

Topic: ,

Unlike email, SMS hasn’t been over-used by spammers, and, unlike app notifications, an internet connection isn’t required to receive text messages. So it’s unsurprising that the open rate for SMS has been consistently reported as very high.

However, with attention spans decreasing, we wanted to see how SMS performs in 2018, and whether there is any difference between age groups and countries. We placed a pop-up survey on our UK, Irish, French, Spanish and Australian websites from 12/02/18 to 12/03/18, and totalled 992 respondents.*

We asked them: “Do you read every text message sent to you?” and offered three options:

  1. Yes, I read every text message
  2. No, I only read texts from people I know
  3. No, I don’t read text messages.

Global average SMS open rate

Global average SMS open rate

Grouping people who’ll read texts if they’re familiar with the sender with people who’ll read every text, regardless of its origin, the global average open rate of SMS is 94%.

UK SMS open rate 2018

UK SMS Open Rates 2018

The UK analysis shows us that, across the board, an overwhelming number of respondents will read SMS (95% open rate), but in order to make sure your messages get the widest reach, it’s advisable to use a Sender ID to showcase your brand.

It’s interesting to see that the number of respondents who want the sender clearly identified increases with age; millennials are thought to be less trusting than previous generations, but this research indicates that that’s a generalisation that doesn’t necessarily serve your business needs.

France SMS open rate 2018

France SMS Open Rates 2018

The French overall response rate was very similar to the UK, with a 96% open rate, but less of a clear trend between generations.

Spain SMS open rate 2018

ES SMS Open Rates 2018

Spain shows a bit of a departure from the UK and France, with an 89% open rate, and a greater tendency for the young to want to know the sender of the message.

Australia SMS open rate 2018

Australia SMS Open Rates 2018

Except for Ireland, Australia has the highest number of people who open every message, regardless of sender. The overall open rate for SMS in Australia is 94%.

Ireland SMS open rate 2018

We had a more limited response to our survey on the Irish website, so decided not to report the age demographics here because of less thorough representation. 

Ireland SMS Open Rates 2018

Ireland boasts the highest proportion of respondents who will open every text message, regardless of sender, at 81%. The overall SMS open rate for Ireland is 94%.

Hopefully this data will help to inform your SMS campaigns, whether they’re operational or promotional. If you’d like any more information on our data sources and methodology, please get in touch (marketing@esendex.com / 0345 356 5758).

*We filtered out respondents whose IP address identified them as not being located in the country in which we were gathering data.

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!