9 of 10 Consumers Want to Text Message with Brands—But Most Businesses Can’t Support That Experience

by | Sep 19, 2016 | Business, Retail

Brands In Denial that Messaging Is Consumers’ Communication Preference

While 9 out of 10 consumers want to use messaging to communicate with brands, less than half of global businesses have the infrastructure in place to fulfill this customer demand, according to new research from cloud communications platform company Twilio, which recently released the results of a new study, Global Mobile Messaging Consumer Report. Twilio surveyed more than 6,000 consumers across 3 continents including North America, Europe and Asia.

“Today’s report highlights a growing divide between consumers and brands,” said Manav Khurana, vice president of product marketing at Twilio, in a news release. “Consumers message more than they call, email or even post on social media but businesses are still trying to reach them via the channels they no longer use. To keep up with consumers, brands must adopt messaging as a channel and begin communicating with customers in the same way people communicate with each other.”

Key findings from Twilio’s report include:

Mobile messaging is the most popular way consumers communicate worldwide. The average consumer:

  • Has 3 messaging apps on their phone’s home screen.
  • Uses 3 different messaging apps per week.
  • Sends an average of 3 messages per hour.
  • Across all generations, consumers prefer messaging at least 3 times more than face-to-face communication. Millennials prefer messaging 8 times more than face-to-face communication.
  • Consumers are more likely to opt-in for notifications from a messaging app than any other type of app, making it more likely for messages to be received through that medium. More than 80% of consumers have notifications turned on for native SMS apps.
  • Messaging has an addictive quality. In fact, 1 in 10 people globally would give up sex, 2 in 10 would give up their morning coffee and 3 out of 10 people would give up phone calls all together.

The way consumers message is affected by age, geography and who they are messaging.

  • 66% of consumers prefer to reach brands or be reached by brands via messaging over any other means.
  • The younger you are, the more likely you are to choose messaging over other channels of customer service. Millennials and Generation X prefer messaging over every other channel for customer service including email, phone and live web chat.
  • Consumers prefer to message their friends and family on different apps than they prefer to message brands.
    • Globally, when communicating with friends and family, 34% prefer native SMS, 31% prefer WhatsApp, 20% prefer Facebook Messenger, 5% prefer LINE, 3% prefer Snapchat and 7% prefer another messaging app.
    • Globally, when communicating with brands, 47% prefer native SMS, 21% prefer Facebook Messenger, 18% WhatsApp, 6% prefer LINE, 2% prefer Snapchat and 6% prefer another messaging app.

Consumers want their communication with brands to be two-way conversations.

  • Globally, 85% of people want to be able to not only receive a message from a business but also answer a message from a business.

“As messaging becomes even more central in people’s lives through the addition of eCommerce, gaming and other communications and social networking functions, demand for service in messaging will rise. Messaging has some distinct advantages that should also make it a boon for customer experience,” offered senior Forrester analyst Ian Jacobs in the June report Plan Now for Customer Service in 2021.

Download the complete report here.


In research conducted by Twilio with Vanson Bourne during the spring and summer of 2016, 6,000 consumers across three continents (North America, Europe and Asia) and seven countries (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Japan and Singapore) were interviewed about how they use messaging to talk to businesses. The study talked to an equal number of male and female users split across five age groups ranging from 18 to 55+ years to understand gender and age related preferences. In this study, mobile messaging is defined as text messages sent from phones using SMS natively or using apps such as iMessage, Android Hangouts, or using messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, LINE, SnapChat, Kakaotalk and others.

Source: Marketwired; edited by Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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