Today is the anniversary of a technological wonder: the first text message was sent 25 years ago.
Back in the good old days of 1992, a test engineer for one of the first mobile messaging companies, Sema Group, sent the first text from his personal computer to a mobile phone.
Given the time of year, it was sufficiently fitting that the first text said “Merry Christmas”.
Incidentally, 1992 was also the same year the first ever smartphone was introduced.
We’ve come a long way since the first text message was sent. There are around 4.917bn people in the world that use a mobile phone according to We Are Social. That would lead to a lot of texting if it weren’t for the rise of apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.
Do people still text? Not much, thanks to the likes of WhatsApp
In 2011-2012, the humble text message was enjoying its heyday. In the UK alone, around 151bn SMS and MMS messages were sent, up from a mere 66bn in 2007.
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Yet, this has since declined. Whilst people do still text, it fell to 129m in 2013 and then down to 96m in 2016. This was as a result of the arrival of the messaging app, mainly WhatsApp, and WeChat in China.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp revealed that 1bn people use the app every day, up from 1bn using it every month just a year before. A total of 55bn messages are sent using the app every day, with around 4.5bn of those messages being photos.
By contrast, the most recent figures say that 18.7bn texts were sent worldwide every day. It’s clear that the rise of messaging apps have contributed to the decline in texting.
Over coming years SMS messages are expected to decline, with the 64 per person that are sent on average each month falling to 46 by 2022, according to GlobalData estimates.
In China, the messaging scene is dominated by Tencent’s WeChat platform. With over 1bn registered accounts, WeChat users are sending 38bn messages every day. What’s interesting about WeChat chatters however, is that they are sending 6.1bn voice messages every day.
This is pretty impressive, giving the usage of WeChat outside of China is about 70m people. That’s until Tencent launches its first international expansion of the platform into Malaysia. Once it starts on this path of dominance, expect to see WeChat overtaking WhatsApp in terms of its daily messaging rate.
The best texting/messaging related statistic?
That texts have a 99 percent open rate and 95 percent of messages are opened and read within five minutes. So you know that person is mulling it over for three hours before they respond…