SMS Usage Statistics in 2019. Market Predictions for 2020-2023 and Beyond

It was December 3, 1992. That’s the date that Neil Papworth sent the world’s first text message. More than 26 years later, SMS has grown into a powerful marketing and communication tool.

Today, trillions of SMS text messages connect billions of people and benefits millions of businesses and marketers immensely. SMS helps businesses generate outsized positive ROI.

In this article, we’ll review the most recent SMS usage statistics. Be warned! These stats might compel you to take your SMS marketing seriously.

Global SMS and Usage Statistics


Image Credit: GSMA Intelligence

The number of mobile users is increasing and will continue to soar. In a GSMA report, mobile users will go from five billion users in 2019 to 5.7 billion in 2020. This growth will increase market penetration of mobile phones from 67 percent to 72 percent in that period. Hence, an increase in the use of SMS.

The GSMA statistics support Statista’s predictions that smartphone users will grow from 3.2 billion to 3.8 billion from 2019 to 2021. Another Statista report posits the number of mobile subscribers globally will reach 7.33 billion in 2023.


Screenshot from Statista

The growing number of mobile devices means SMS remains a viable communication platform.

In America, over 272 million people own smartphones. And they collectively check their phones tens of billions of times every day; an average person picks up their phone 58 times a day.

Let us look at some of the global SMS and usage statistics.

  •  In 2024, the global application to person (A2P) SMS API market will reach $245.9 million based on a CAGR of 4.1 percent from 2017 to 2024. However, the A2P SMS market will grow at a CAGR of 4.2 to reach a valuation of $86.53 billion in 2025.
  • The A2P SMS market is stronger in the USA, growing at 6.2 percent to reach a valuation of $31.7 billion in 2022.
  • Phone users read over 90 percent of text messages within three minutes of receipt.

SMS Marketing Statistics for Businesses


Screenshot from Ericsson

According to Ericsson, the number of mobile subscriptions in 2020 will exceed eight billion. Smartphones and feature phones will contribute to 73 percent and 23.4 percent of that growth, respectively.

Let’s explore the conversion and response rates of SMS.


Screenshot from Finances Online

  • Retailers that use promotional SMS for their CRM initiatives enjoy a 23.3 percent conversion rate.
  • Compared to calls, 64 percent of customers prefer using two-way text messages when interacting with customer service. Most of these customers are younger people and they cite efficiency and convenience as their top reasons for preferring text messages.
  • About 75 percent of customers enjoy receiving special offers by text message. Messages sent this way convert at 9.18 percent, which is several times higher than the 0.9 percent and 1.91 percent of Facebook and Google Ads, respectively.


Image Created by Nicholas Godwin for SMSEagle.eu

  • The fastest growing marketing channel is customers opting in to receive business text messaging services. In 2016, 37.2 million customers used this channel,  in 2020 48.7 million customers in the US are choosing the channel.
  • In 2019, businesses spent $165.7 billion on mobile ads. In that year, 90 percent of US consumers indicated that they prefer to receive text ads.
  • In 2019, the conversion rate of SMS campaigns stand at 45 percent.


Screenshot from Finances Online

  • Eighty-five percent of consumers and buyers want to go beyond receiving just information from businesses, they want to hold text conversions with these businesses.
  • SMS open rate stands at 98 percent because receivers must read them before they delete them. Whereas, open rates for Facebook posts, email messages, and Tweets stand at 12 percent, 20 percent, and 29 percent, respectively.
  • HubSpot reports that the average click through rate of URLs in text messages is 19 percent, meanwhile, email stands at 4.2 percent.

Marketing SMS Usage Statistics


Screenshot from GlobalWebIndex

  • According to a 2019 Social Flagship report by GlobalWebIndex, 48 percent of internet users share content with their peers through text messages. Only 37 percent of users share information via email.


Screenshot from eMarketer

  • The US mobile messaging app usage, including SMS app usage, will go from 161.6 million users in 2020 to hit 171.3 million users in 2022. This growth will go from 56.1 percent of the US population to 58.1 percent of US users.
  • SMS Comparison further reveals that SMS has a higher clickthrough rate (CTR) when compared to other marketing like Facebook and Google AdWords. The Click-through rate for SMS stands at 9.18 percent, while Facebook and Google AdWords have a CTR of 0.90 percent and 1.91 percent, respectively.


Screenshot from OpenMarket

Sixty-two percent of buyers are not getting SMS notifications from retailers. In Travel and Hospitality, 75 percent of travellers and vacationers are not receiving any SMS communication from train operators, hotels, and airlines.

  • According to SMS Comparison, nine out of ten customers will prefer to communicate with companies via text message. That stat applies to one-way communication by alerts, reminders, and notifications, or two-way communications.


Screenshot from Finances Online

  • Mobile marketing, including SMS marketing, is driving more purchases for businesses in 2020. Businesses in these three industries are seeing the most increase in sales due to mobile marketing: 54 percent of restaurants, 40 percent of apparels and beauty, and 36 percent of electronics.
  • According to Rebrandly, using branded links on your SMS campaigns will increase clickthrough rate by 39 percent and boost brand visibility.
  • The top four reasons why consumers pay attention to a marketing message in their mobile phone are:  brand familiarly at 54 percent, content that’s interesting and creative at 52 percent, excellent timing at 41 percent, and promotional offers such as coupons at 41 percent.


Screenshot from Finances Online

  • By end-of-year 2019 the mobile phone sales market would witness a 19 percent drop because of longer phone replacement cycles.


Screenshot from Finances Online

  • Researchers expect to see 49 million consumers opting to receive marketing messages from brands in 2020. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Gartner says that SMS will become vital for businesses that want to keep touch with their audiences and customers at this time.

SMS Statistics from the Financial Service Industry

Mobile SMS banking has become a dominant trend

  • According to the Business Insider Intelligence Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study by Business Insider,  89 percent of customers say they utilize mobile banking services.
  • According to Coherent Marketing Insights, the transactional SMS market share will reach 47.4 percent by 2027.

What Does the Future Hold for SMS and SMS Marketing?

The SMS industry will continue to witness an upward swing. Future projections have shown that recent advancements in technology will shape consumers’ behavior and how businesses utilize SMS.


Screenshot from Juniper Research

Let’s take a look at some of the predictions.

  • According to the Coherent Marketing Insights, the global bulk SMS marketing industry will hit a CAGR of 7.4 percent between 2019-2027.
  • Juniper Research estimated that the number of business text messages in 2020 would reach 3.5 trillion messages from the 2.5 trillion messages in 2019.


Screenshot from Juniper Research

  • Given the high engagement rates of SMS marketing and the intelligent automation capabilities of chatbots, experts expect that SMS chatbots will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.


Screenshot from OpenMarket

  • From 2019 to 2027 the global market for bulk SMS marketing service will grow at a CAGR of 7.2 percent.

Final Words

From the usage statistics we have outlined here, it’s clear that the future of SMS is promising.

SMS remains the most underutilized, yet most engaging marketing and communication channel. And it’ll continue to witness adoption across multiple industries including financial services, healthcare, hospitality, transportation, and more.

With a massive open rate of 98 percent, SMS has the potential to deliver significant value for businesses. As a marketer, SMS communications means your customers will most likely read your message.

Furthermore, SMS marketing can help businesses boost customer reach. They can improve customer engagement and increase revenues. Businesses that engage in SMS marketing will continue to enjoy these enormous benefits if they employ the right strategies.

The beautiful thing about SMS is that it is cost-effective and can form an essential part of your integrated marketing strategy. You should go ahead and invest in SMS. I’m sure you will be glad you did.

4 User Authentication Issues Developers and Admins Struggle With (Solved)

User authentication is how admins and developers like you and I enforce secure access to user accounts. But in the face of increasing cybersecurity concerns, our challenges have grown taller.

Look at the statistics. In the first three quarters of 2018 alone, attackers launched about 1.4 million phishing URLs. As you know, phishing targets a user’s authentication rights and identity.

Meanwhile, in the real world, most people are not taking precautions to secure their accounts. In a study published in 2019, 67 percent of participants do not use two-factor authentication at all for their accounts. Out of those that use 2FA, 55 percent do not use it at work.

This laxity to security puts admins on edge. So this article identifies and provides solutions to some of the problems you face in implementing user authentication for your apps and websites.

1. Getting Users to Set Strong Passwords

The passwords of nine out of every ten employees can be hacked within six hours. And two-thirds of people use the same password for most of their accounts. So imagine a black hat hacker stealing that one password, and it’s the same password for your online banking.

The Problem with Getting Users to Set Strong Passwords

Users worry that they’ll forget their passwords all the time if they use unique passwords for each online account they set up. This fear deters them from following their admins’ suggestions even if they know better.

Most users don’t know that they can safely store passwords on a password manager. So far, it looks like admins haven’t done much in telling users about password managers.

The Solution for Admins and Developers

Tell your users about the dangers of using a single password or repeating passwords. Let them know that a secure password manager like KeePass, LastPass, or others saves them the stress of remembering passwords. These password managers also help them set strong passwords. Teach them how to use browser extensions for password manager of your choice.

2. Encouraging Users to Implement 2FA for Their Accounts

According to a Google Engineer, Grzegorz Milka, more than 90 percent of Gmail users do not use 2FA in their accounts at all. Understandable because most users see it as an extra huddle to accessing their account.

So they avoid it.

Albeit, users still want security. So they’d rather rely on password managers because they make login automatic and require fewer huddles. While a password manager is good, admins must let users know that the more security layers they use, the less likely they’d be hacked.

The Problem with Implementing 2FA

The problem is that most users are not seeing the risk of leaving their email accounts to one authentication mechanism – passwords or passphrases only. Hackers, on the other hand, are looking for accounts with the least resistance to hacking.

The Solution for Admins and Developers

Your job as a developer or admins is to help your users see the risk and understand its costs. So the question comes to “How do I help them see the risk?”

Let them know that attackers might have hacked their accounts already. So having a 2FA in place is a step to stop further compromise even if these hackers compromised their user passwords.

Here’s a case in point. Yahoo had been hacked since 2013 or earlier, but no one noticed until years later in 2017 when the announcement and investigation kicked in. That’s a full four years before people realized they’d been hacked.

Employees need to know that using two-factor authentication puts a demand on the account to notify them, the user, of any unauthorized login attempts.

Secondly, users need to know that they might have been hacked already and may not know it now until later in the future. So setting up a second-factor authentication can help them save their accounts. Security experts say that hackers stole anywhere from 7.5 to 8.5 billion records in 2019 alone.

3. Preventing SMS Spoofing

Hackers understand the power of 2FA, and they’re trying hard to phish their way through that second layer of security. In a study published by Thycotic, 68 percent of black hat hackers said their biggest challenge is multifactor authentication.

Consequently, admins and developers are saddled with the responsibility of helping their users understand and prevent SMS spoofing.

In case SMS spoofing sounds new to you. It’s a phishing technique that hackers use to gain control of their target’s information or devices.

So these hackers would send an SMS message to their targets and making it appear as if the message is coming from a target’s trusted source. A trusted source could be their employer, senior executive, or finance department staff.

For example, a hacker could send SMS messages to your employees that appear to come from you, the admin, asking them to click a link to give some sensitive information. Your employees would click the link, believing the message came from you, and then unknowingly compromise their device, share some sensitive data, or both.

Hackers can use SMS spoofing the same way they use email spoofing,

  1. Collect sensitive information to aid their hacking activities or sell on the dark web
  2. Take control of your device and use that access to perpetuate other hacking or identity theft attacks.

So you want to sensitize your users on how to spot and stop a phishing attempt.

The Problem with Preventing SMS Spoofing

The biggest problem with preventing SMS spoofing is ignorance on the part of system users. Additionally, admins are not investing enough resources in educating their users on how to spot and block these spoofing attempts.

Admin and developers might be underestimating the impact of an attack too, and that’s why they are not investing enough in educating their users about SMS phishing.

The Solution for Admins and Developers

Due to the high-level security that 2FA bestows on users, spoofers are desperate to break that line of defense. As an admin or developer, here are your options for preventing an SMS spoof attack.

Invest in Employee or System User Education

Educate your employees and users to not click on SMS links from unknown sources or that they haven’t verified. Let them take this phishing test.

That spoofing test focuses on email spoofing. But it sensitizes users to pay more attention to the messages they receive. Ultimately, attackers want to deceive you into taking an action that grants them access to your sensitive data or device. Hence you want to train your users on how to spot these deceptions.

Use a Signature Message

Set up a signature that goes with every SMS you send to devalue any phishing attempt immediately. For example, “Prevent SMS spoofing: call the number that sent this SMS.”

This prevention technique works because people who spoof phone numbers don’t own them. Tell your users to hang up and call the number back. When they call, they’ll reach the real holder, not the spoofer.

4. The Social Sign-in Puzzle

In the bid to improve authentication, developers introduced social media sign-in. The idea is that users would sign in to third-party websites and apps using their social media accounts, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail.

This arrangement is pretty secure. So the problem here isn’t with the security of the process. But the convenience of the user.

The Problem with Social Sign-In

Social sign-in saves users the hassle of creating new passwords. But these users must remember how they signed up for the service. Hence, this authentication often creates issues for users.

Customer Churn Because of Forgotten Authentication Channel

Your users may signup for your service, but since they don’t use it often, they’d forget how they accessed the site. If they have very little to lose, they’d churn and never return to the service.

Loss of Access to User Account After Loss of Social Account

A user may lose access to the social media account they used to sign up. If that happens, they may churn and stop using the service. Even if they don’t churn, users may define this event as a poor customer experience.

Security Concerns

Users may feel unsafe granting third-party apps permissions to their social accounts. This concern may intensify if the app requests access to “control,” “send emails,” or “make posts” on their behalf.

The solution for Admins and Developers

You want to treat the use of social sign-in as an experiment to know how your users find the experience before you discard or adopt it fully. Secondly, admins should provide backup sign-in methods for users in case they lose access to their social accounts.

Developers and admins must provide brief explanations for what they mean when they ask for permission that might deter users from adopting their social sign-in option.

End the Authentication Struggle

Most admins and developers struggle with user authentication because they don’t invest in user security awareness. Users will take more responsibility, the more they understand the risk that comes with being lax with their account security.

In summary, let your users know that

  1. Clicking unfamiliar links or downloading unexpected attachments could expose them to security risks
  2. They shouldn’t take phone calls without confirming the identity of the caller or never give sensitive information over a phone call
  3. If they think their system might be infected or compromised, they should contact an admin

The cost of falling victim to a security exposure outways the cost of preventing it. Hence, you want to invest in prevention, and that includes enforcing 2FA. You also want to test user authentication channels that might improve your security and user authentication experience.

14 Ways Savvy Brands Use SMS to Earn More Money, Trust, and Referrals

14 Ways Savvy Brands Use SMS to Earn More Money, Trust, and Referrals

SMS has more reach than other messaging channels because you don’t need a smartphone and an internet connection to access a text message.

But what gives SMS marketing its power is the engagement it generates.

While email has a 20 to 30 percent open rate, SMS has a 98 percent open-rate. And 90 percent of recipients read their text messages within three seconds of receiving them.

More so, SMS has a reply rate as high as 45 percent, and an average person responds to an SMS within 90 seconds.

What’s more?

SMS marketing generates outsized ROI. For example, a British motor racing circuit earned a 680 percent return on their SMS marketing efforts.

How can you benefit from all these goodies?

Let’s explore how you can leverage SMS to boost your profits, earn buyers’ trust, and gain referrals.

Table of Contents: 14 Ways Savvy Brands Use SMS to Earn More Money, Trust, and Referrals

You may skip to any part of this content by clicking any of the items on the list.

    1. Build a Loyalty Program by Leveraging SMS
    2. Build Referrals from Loyal Buyers
    3. Boost Your Subscriber Base by Targeting In-Store Shoppers
    4. Track and Measure Your Customer Engagement Levels
    5. Use SMS for Call to Action
    6. Manage Your Product Recalls and Returns
    7. Use SMS to Boost Your Email Open-Rate
    8. Offer Discounts and Build Top-of-the-Mind Awareness
    9. Boost Your Revenues By Getting Instant Buyer-Feedback
    10. Abandoned Cart Notification
    11. Delivery Alert and Customer Service
    12. Product Launch, New Stock, and Product Updates
    13. Manager Your Customer Appointments
    14. Distribute Your Coupon to More People

1. Build a Loyalty Program by Leveraging SMS

More businesses are favoring customer retention over acquisition. Specifically, businesses favoring customer retention over acquisition moved from 70 percent to 80 percent in one year.

One study showed that 82 percent of shoppers choose businesses that have loyalty programs over others. And loyalty programs guarantee customer retention.

Fortunately, raising your customer retention rate by five percent is a big deal. It could earn your business up to 125 percent more profit.


Image Credit: TechnologyAdvice

So it only makes sense for businesses to gravitate towards customer loyalty strategies. But some businesses are better at using potent tactics than others.

Savvy brands understand the power of SMS, and they’re using it to drive their customer loyalty growth at the speed of thought.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When shoppers buy from them, they seize that moment. These brands would send buyers an SMS invite to join their loyalty programs in exchange for intelligently structured benefits.

2. Build Referrals from Loyal Buyers

Loyal customers are happy to introduce you to new customers, or they’re willing to introduce new people to your business.

Your customers’ willingness to introduce their friends to your business is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) booster.

If the term is new to you, your business’s NPS shows you the level of loyalty your customers have for the business. It shows you how likely they’ll recommend your product or service to their friends or colleagues.

On a scale of one to ten:

  • 9 – 10 are loyal, would recommend you to others, and would keep buying
  • 7 – 8 are indifferent and can move to other brands if they want
  • 0 – 6 are unhappy and can soil your reputation with negative comments

In a Bain and Company study, shoppers who’ve bought ten or more times from you refer 50 percent more buyers than one-time shoppers.

So the best audience to target for your referral programs is frequent buyers.

Regular shoppers are more likely to refer people to your business. And they send significantly more leads your way than anyone else.

Using SMS, which almost guarantees high open rates, ask your loyal buyers to refer people to your business. You may decide to incentivize this request for referrals too.

3. Boost Your Subscriber Base by Targeting In-Store Shoppers

Boost Your Subscriber Base by Targeting In-Store Shoppers

The line separating the online and offline world is quickly blurring out. And this isn’t only about virtual or augmented reality. Even the simple mobile phone has become instrumental in bringing your local store online.

Use attractive offers in your retail shops to ask your in-store shoppers to subscribe via SMS in exchange for incentives. You can offer different discount types, depending on your strategy. For instance, asking your customers to subscribe using a short code by SMS for a credit card.

4. Track and Measure Your Customer Engagement

SMS marketing is a business growth strategy that helps you engage your customers. As you might imagine, engaged customers buy more from you.

Hence, you can measure the success rate of your marketing campaign by sending messages with trackable links. These types of messages make it easy to track your customers’ engagement with your marketing messages.

Return to the Table Of Contents

5. Use SMS for Call to Action

Since the click-through rate (CTR) is high with SMS, leverage it to deliver timely messages to your audience.

However, not all Call to Action (CTA) is appropriate for SMS. With a maximum of 160 characters, your SMS can’t have lengthy texts that end with “Read More,” or pitches that end with “Buy Now” or “Sign Up.”

However, your timely messages can use:

  • Click the link
  • Call us
  • Text back
  • Visit us

Yes, that sort of thing. You want them to act.

6. Manage Your Product Recalls and Returns

Defective products can impact your reputation negatively. Hence, as an obligation, you must recall hazardous products that result from design and production errors.


Image Credit: GS1 New Zealand

You want to act speedily when notifications of product defects reach you. And an SMS platform can help. You can use text messages to manage single product defects to mass defects.

Leveraging SMS, you can quickly reach your customers with information on the status of your product, and guide them on the next course of action.


Image Credit: Lontae

For mass defects, your first call would be to stop all distribution of the product, then send recall notification to your customers through SMS.

7. Use SMS to Boost Your Email Open-Rate

Some businesses either use Email or SMS in their marketing campaign, but savvy ones use both channels strategically.

Since emails convey detailed messages well, you can use it for lengthy conversations that require explanations. Furthermore, an email allows attachments like brochures and downloadable documents. But the chances are that most of your customers won’t see the email.

Hence, you want to leverage the higher open rate of text messaging to boost your email open-rate.

In one Smart Insights report, SMS helped businesses experience a 20 to 30 percent boost in their email open. A simple message that asked eads, “have you read our email?” did the magic.

8. Offer Discounts and Build Top-of-the-Mind Awareness

Building your brand takes more than having a catchphrase, brilliant logo designs, and brand colors. You want your customers to remember you.

To stay top-of-the-mind, you can use SMS strategies like

  • Keeping track of and sending anniversary messages to your customers
  • Sending them tips and helpful information on using your product or service
  • Offering discounts and promotions
  • Giving them party invites
  • Sharing news headlines if appropriate

And more. Here are some examples.

A local Domino’s Pizza stays top-of-the-mind by offering discounts via text messages.


Another brand, ARM, also uses discounts sent via SMS to invite their leads to sign up for their program.


You may also use trackable URLs in your SMS to uncover the best send times for your messages. And then take advantage of the timing when running your campaign.

Up to 90 percent of your customers would read your message. So if you’re offering discounts, you want to be ready for the rush. For example, make sure your staff can fulfill your offers on time.

9. Boost Your Revenues By Getting Instant Buyer-Feedback

Sending your buyers a survey immediately they leave your store can help you get a sense of how satisfied they feel about your food or their shopping experience at your place.

This point can also be helpful for an event if you host online or offline events. When a session ends, get a quick sense of what your attendees enjoyed and what they didn’t like. And then, use that feedback to improve on your coming event sessions.

You can send your leads to a page on your website or app to leave a short survey like the one below.


Surveys and feedback can help you discover profitable patterns you can leverage to boost your revenue and customer satisfaction.

10. Abandoned Cart Notification

Trying to recover all abandoned carts is a waste of time because, on average, approximately 70 percent of shopping carts are abandoned. As high as 92 percent of the visitors to a retail website have no intention to buy.

You can automate your SMS such that when a customer adds products to their cart without checking out, they receive notification automatically. But you must have collected their phone numbers to make this possible. You must send the abandoned cart SMS fast and create an easy link for them to get back to the cart.

You can increase your success rate by offering incentives, such as discounts and free deliveries.

11. Delivery Alert and Customer Service

Customers want you to keep them in the loop. So you could send them delivery tracking notifications about their purchases by SMS.


More so, you can use SMS for customer service. This Australian health care service does with their patients, see the message above.


Brands like Amazon and DHL already use this channel because it’s effective. You can copy them safely.

12. Product Launch, New Stock, and Product Updates

Product Launch, New Stock, and Product Updates
Most businesses have come to rely on email for their product launch and for keeping their customers updated about new stocks or improvements. But SMS can offer exciting opportunities too.

You can inform your target audience about new products, discounts, services, and events via text messages. Studies have shown that SMS might even be more potent than email.


SMS messages have a 209 percent higher response rate than messages on apps, email, or Facebook. In one study, sales leads who got a text message during a product launch converted 40 percent higher than those who didn’t get a text message.

Salesforce says that 89 percent of marketers report that SMS marketing commands more results than business websites and display ads. More so, 82 percent of marketers either maintained or increased their investment in SMS marketing.

In short, using SMS to launch your product gets you the types of results you love.

13. Manage Your Customer Appointments

If you offer services, you might want to confirm or remind your customers of an appointment via SMS. You’d reduce the chances of cancellation because 70 percent of respondents agree that using SMS is a good way to get their attention.

Likewise, if you choose to stay open to accommodate late buyers, you can inform your busy customers of extended hours.

14. Distribute Your Coupon to More People


Text messages can create a sense of urgency around your discount, coupon codes, or flash sales. Due to the fast open and response rates of SMS, you can get a response almost instantly.

So you can compile the phone numbers of leads who respond and target them in future campaigns.

Mobile coupons allow you to send your brand codes to customers quickly. You can send them as coupon codes via SMS that they can present at check out.

 

Get Savvy: Earn More Money, Trust, and Referrals

It’s action time. But you don’t have to act on everything. Take one or a few ideas that resonate with you. And put them to work. That’s what works.

Decide on what goals matter most to your business right now. Is earning more money the most import thing right now? Would earning more trust boost your business value better? Or would you rather get more referrals now?

It’s time to get savvy. Choose a goal and take action today.