Texting Statistics UK [2021 Edition]

Does the name Neil Papworth sound familiar to you? He is the man who sent the world’s first text in 1992. Since then, texting has become one of the most popular means of communication. There are several reasons for the popularity of texting, including the ease-of-use, emojis and GIFs, and it allows multitasking too. 

Texting in the UK has become more popular than face-to-face communication. Of course, it comes as no surprise since people use texting to stay in touch daily. 

We’re sure there are many burning questions about texting in your mind right now. For example, how many texts do people in the UK send? How much has it increased in popularity over time? Do people still text and drive? 

Here we have brought you the latest texting statistics UK. These fun facts about texting aim to provide you with insight and perspective relating to the texting habits people from the UK have. 

Top 10 Compelling Texting Statistics UK

  • In 2019, 76% of the people in the UK reported sending texts daily.
  • Mobile subscribers in the UK sent over 64 billion text messages in 2019.
  • iPhone users downloaded WhatsApp 800,000 times in January 2019 solely.
  • In 2019, 57% of female smartphone users texted several times a day.
  • On average, people from the UK are a part of six different messaging groups.
  • One-fourth of UK consumers prefer a marketing SMS over a phone call.
  • 64% of UK consumers believe that companies should use SMS services more.
  • 84% of smartphone users in the UK reported that they used WhatsApp.
  • In 2019, more than 11 million drivers admitted they text while driving. 
  • In 2019, approximately 38% of companies in the UK used SMS marketing

Text Messaging Statistics UK

In 2019, 76% of the people in the UK reported sending texts every day

How many people text? Only 4% of respondents said that they never send texts. The majority (55%) of the people surveyed said they send texts several times a day, 19% claimed they send at least one text per day, and 4% said they send texts at least once a week. 

Mobile subscribers in the UK sent over 65 billion SMS and MMS messages in 2019

The average number of SMS and MMS messages fell consistently between 2012 and 2019. At its peak in 2012, people in the UK sent more than 160 billion such messages. The sharp decline in SMS and MMS texting services is likely due to the rise of mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. Hence, the revenues of telecom services offering SMS and MMS services have been steadily declining over the past decade.  

Postpaid mobile subscribers sent more than 53.2 billion MMS and SMS text messages in 2019 in the UK 

SMS and MMS messages (as opposed to using a messenger service like WhatsApp) remained popular even in 2019. However, the number of sent SMS messages fell by more than 10 billion compared to the previous year. In addition, the vast majority of SMS messages came from postpaid subscribers rather than prepaid subscribers. 

84% of smartphone users in the UK reported that they used WhatsApp for their messaging needs

In the UK, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service. The second-most popular such service is Facebook Messenger. For comparison, approximately only 33% of smartphone users in the US use WhatsApp. Furthermore, the popularity of WhatsApp varies significantly from country to country. For example, 65% of smartphone users from Germany reported using Whatsapp, while only 23% did the same in France. Across the world, WhatsApp has added more than 1.3 billion active users to its customer base between 2013 and 2017. 

iPhone users in the UK downloaded WhatsApp more than 800,000 times in January 2019 alone

In the UK, WhatsApp seems to be popular amongst both iPhone and Android users. Since the app is available for both operating systems, it allows for easy cross-communication. In comparison, WhatsApp saw over 1 billion downloads from Android users in March 2019. It is noteworthy that this statistic shows the number of downloads, and a single user could have downloaded the app multiple times.  

In 2019, 57% of female smartphone users reported that they texted several times a day

Globally, there exists a gender gap in text messaging. On average, men are much more likely to be texting more than women. This gender gap exists due to a variety of social and economic causes. Women in the Middle East and Africa were least likely to be active smartphone users.  

On average, people from the UK are a part of six different messaging groups

The popularity of messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger is partly because the apps allow creating messaging groups. Therefore, users can send and receive mobile messages to and from all the group members simultaneously. Moreover, the popularity of messaging groups has grown over time as companies and businesses use such groups to communicate and coordinate with employees.  

In 2019, more than 11 million drivers in the UK admitted they had texted while driving at some point

People have yet to eradicate the dangerous habit of texting while driving. Since 2003, the UK Government has banned using smartphones while driving to ensure higher road safety. However, even though texting and calling while driving is illegal in the UK, people still practice it.  

In the UK, the revenue from providing SMS and MMS services in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 124 million British pounds

Even though the revenue from SMS and MMS messages has dropped significantly over the past decade, it is still relatively high. However, from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013, such revenue experienced a drop from 590 million pounds to less than 430 million pounds. That was the first significant drop in revenue from such services. As mentioned earlier, this drop in consumption in the UK has been mainly due to the rise of messaging apps like WhatsApp.   

In 2020, the annual revenue of telecommunication companies from providing SMS and MMS services to UK consumers was 518 million pounds

There has been a steady decline in such revenue between 2011 and 2020 caused by the growing use of messaging apps. From 2011 to 2020, the revenue dropped from over 2 billion pounds to just 520 million pounds. In the future, odds are this revenue will drop even further.    

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the complete quarterly volume of SMS and MMS messages in the UK was approximately 11 billion

According to the latest texting trends, the total quarterly volume of SMS and MMS messages has declined from 39 billion to 11 billion between 2012 and 2020. However, this statistic does not count the number of text messages people had sent through messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The overall number of text messages, however, has increased during this period.

One texting vs calling statistic coming up: In August 2020, more than 55% of UK citizens reported that they prefer to communicate over text messages than be on a phone call

Age plays a significant role in this stat. Most people under the age of 39 (72%) said they prefer texts over phone calls. On the flip side, the majority of the people aged over 55 (49%) claimed they would rather be on a phone call. Thus, even though texting is a more convenient method of communication according to younger people, many older people are yet to get used to it.  

In 2019, approximately 38% of companies in the UK used SMS marketing as a part of their marketing campaigns

Ever since text messaging has gone mainstream, businesses have been using text or SMS marketing to reach consumers. Many studies have shown that text marketing is an effective way for companies to engage with consumers, even more so when compared to telemarketing. The main reason for the effectiveness of marketing text messages is that people prefer to receive business or marketing communications in a less invasive way. 

More than 44 million people in the UK received a marketing text message from a UK business in 2018

SMS marketing techniques have gotten more innovative over the years. For example, businesses are using mobile texts to communicate with consumers in a more personalized way. Furthermore, the number of smartphone users in the UK has reached 48% of the population, making it an extensive addressable market for campaigns. 

Want more SMS marketing statistics? One-fourth of UK consumers prefer a marketing SMS over a marketing phone call

One of the main advantages of text message marketing is that it is the preferred way for many UK consumers to receive marketing information. Rather than being disturbed by receiving a phone call, many consumers favour reading such text messages at their preferred time. 

64% of UK consumers believe that companies should use SMS services more

UK consumers are surprisingly optimistic about receiving marketing information via text messages. So here’s one last SMS stat: Approximately 91% of smartphone users read the text messages that businesses send. Additionally, the majority of them also prefer to get such messages rather than communicating in other ways. 

Wrap Up 

These texting statistics UK show just how much influence texting has on every aspect of our lives. Text message statistics show that the popularity of SMS and MMS texts has decreased over the past decade. However, texting altogether has become viral thanks to messaging services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. 

People find convenience in texting, which is why it has made a significant impact on our daily habits. In addition, texters believe they can communicate more thoroughly through text than they could over a phone call. No wonder since you don’t have to reply in real-time, and let’s not forget about how emojis can depict precisely how you feel.