Mobile phone users in the US now send or receive more text messages a month than they make or take calls. It is not that phone calls have decreased; they have remained pretty consistent over the past two years; SMS use has increased over 351% in the past year. This ties the US with Canada in 11th position for text message use by wireless subscribers per country (though the lack of any African, Scandinavian or Asian countries other than China in this list makes it suspect to me). The score now stands (per month): calls - 204; SMS - 357.
And yes, among 13-17 year olds the results favor texting by 7:1 (231 calls, 1742 texts). But it is not until the 45-54 year old cohort that monthly phone calls trump texts (193 to 128).
The data from Nielsen Connect also reinforce one of the factoids that audiences I speak with about mobile phones and public health find most startling. In one of the largest short code marketing campaigns this year, 57% of all texters in My Coke Rewards are over the age of 35 (I state that the average age of a texter is 35).
About 16% of all wireless subscribers have seen SMS ads. And, pay attention now, 45% of them respond back with a text. Teens are the most likely to engage with short-code marketing (the use of those five digit codes used in television game shows and other programming and increasingly in outdoor ads) - 35% see some form of text-message advertising in the course of a month (I wonder whether that is a targeting issue or a perceptual one. Teens are more tuned into spotting this type of marketing because mobile is a more integrated part of their life - and they know what to do when they see five numbers). African-American and Hispanic mobile subscribers are also more likely than the average texter to engage with some form of text-message advertising in a month, at 24% and 23% respectively. So much for a mobile divide.
So, once again, the data tell you where the consumer is - letting their fingers do the talking.
[Thanx to Mike, who is one of our latest social marketing bloggers at Social Marketing Panorama, for the tip!]