Teen Texting Volume Is Up while the Frequency of Voice Calling Is Down

Texting is the dominant daily mode of communication between teens and all those with whom they communicate.

The volume of texting among teens has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median teen text user. The frequency of teens’ phone chatter with friends – on cell phones and landlines – has fallen. But the heaviest texters are also the heaviest talkers with their friends.

Smartphones are gaining teenage users. Some 23% of all those ages 12-17 say they have a smartphone and ownership is highest among older teens: 31% of those ages 14-17 have a smartphone, compared with just 8% of youth ages 12-13.

Tom Veldman, Senior Proposition Manager at Acision stated: “This research proves once again that despite the use of free ‘over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps, text messaging is still a preferred method of communicating, often replacing voice calls. The Pew Research found that nearly two thirds of teens in the US text every day – something mirrored in our own research, which found that the average 18-25 year old sends 133 text messages weekly.

“It is interesting to consider the differences in attitudes towards SMS in the UK and the US, where text messaging is extremely popular,” continued Veldman. “Acision’s recent research found that the average person in the UK sends 50 text messages per week, compared to 88 in North America. Furthermore, an impressive 300 messages a week are sent by 13% of Americans – in the UK, that figure drops to just 5%. However, in terms of the popularity of SMS, 95% of the UK uses SMS to communicate, compared to just 84% of US citizens.”

He continued: “What can we draw from both of these pieces of research is that text messaging continues to remain popular, even in the face of over-the-top messaging platforms. Overall SMS as a medium is more popular in the UK, yet in terms of volume the average US user sends more messages via SMS, likely due to the higher penetration of unlimited SMS bundles compared to the UK. From this we can draw that the right SMS pricing is the main factor influencing the popularity of SMS vs over the top messaging services in this region.”