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SMS still prevails even with smartphones, study says

Veronica C. Silva | July 25, 2012
US and UK respondents studied have varying SMS behaviours, though majority say text is here to stay.

A study of mobile phone behaviour has revealed that US and UK users still prefer to use text messaging, or short message service (SMS) even though they are using smartphones with broadband capabilities.

The study was commissioned by Acision, a mobile messaging provider, and involved 2,000 respondents from the US and the UK.

Texting behaviour of respondents were studied according to gender and age group, but generally, 92 percent of respondents still use text messaging even though they have smartphones that have instant messaging and social networking services. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents also said that they are practically helpless without texting.

English Internet psychologist Graham Jones, who evaluated the study results, attributed this preference for text messaging to the "trust" factor.

Still popular

"The findings of this study show that text messaging remains popular, and I believe this comes down to trust and reliability. If a user sends a message via a social network, it may feel less immediate, and there are more technological hurdles which could hinder the delivery. Texting, however, often elicits an immediate response. Indeed, text messaging could become even more popular as it evolves and is used by more enterprises to reach consumers," said Jones.

Ironically, the introduction of many new messaging services may have also confused mobile phone users, prompting the users to go back to the old, reliable SMS, Jones added.

"Running in the back of the human mind is the need to do everything with the least possible effort, and we instinctively search for the easiest way to communicate. This is why we rely on and still love text messaging," said Jones.

Age factor

The study also noted that those in the 18-25 age group are sending the most text messages - an average of 133 per week, which is almost double the number for any other age group.

Jones explained that older people may find texting difficult because of their thumbs so texting in the older age group is not that common. He also noted that the younger generation grew up in the technology age so texting is natural to them.

"While teens 30 years ago may have phoned their friends as part of growing up and social development, nowadays they send text messages. The social reasons haven't changed, but the preferred communication method has," said Jones.

 

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