RESTON, VA -- Wirefly.com, the online leader in one-stop comparison shopping for cell phones and wireless phone plans, today released the results of its recently completed behavioral survey on consumer text messaging. As cell phones designed specifically for heavy text messaging continue to shape the wireless market, this new Wirefly.com survey illustrates well-defined behavioral patterns which separate consumers into three distinct and evenly distributed subsets of cell phone users.
Compiled through a survey of thousands of U.S.-based cell phone users (survey details below), the Wirefly.com research confirmed the rapid growth in text messaging usage, with 36% of respondents classifying themselves as heavy users – sending anywhere from one a day to hundreds per month. An additional 29% send fewer than 25 text messages a month, and the other 35% saying they never take advantage of text messaging capabilities.
Within the top-third heavy user category, the majority of respondents said that they send more than 100 text messages a month:
37% sent between 25-100 text messages a month
23% sent 101-250
20% sent 251-500
20% sent more than 500
The Wirefly.com survey shows that the growth of text messaging continues to be fueled by personal and non-professional uses. Of the 65% of customers who do send text messages, a huge majority use them only to contact friends, spouses or significant others. Just 8% of text message users report sending a ‘text’ to a co-worker or for professional reasons.
According to the survey, Wirefly.com discovered that texting takes place only within a small social circle:
48% - send messages to just 2-5 people
21% - expand that pool to 6-10
20% - spread their messages around to more than 10 recipients
"It certainly appears as though our customers overwhelmingly use text messages to convey personal messages to a relatively intimate group of close friends," said Scott Ableman, Wirefly's Senior Vice President of Marketing. "While we did find a small subset who send a tremendous number of texts to large groups of people, the typical user clearly restricts texting to a manageable group of close friends or family members."
In addition and perhaps most interesting, the Wirefly.com data seems to refute the wide-spread notion that text messaging is generally a medium for brief, choppy communication. A full 35% of those who do send text messages reported a typical message length of "several sentences." This option beat out "one word" (4%), "several words" (33%), and "one sentence" (28%).
Motives for text messaging range from simply "responding to a received message" (59%), to "as a substitute for a phone call" (49%) or "a quick hello" (48%). And nearly a fifth of all text messagers (17%) claimed to have flirted via text or for romantic purposes.
Finally, the primary reason for choosing to send a text message rather than placing a call highlights the flexibility and convenience of texting:
52% - text instead of calling when "the situation makes talking on the phone difficult"
23% - involved "lack of time" for a call
15% - simply "prefer text messaging to talking"
10% - attempting to avoid speaking with a specific person
"The one result that did raise eyebrows involved 'breaking up with a boyfriend, girlfriend or romantic involvement via text message,'" said Ableman. "We're glad that 96% of our survey respondents report not having done so, but we were all intrigued, amused and concerned that 1 in every 25 respondents say they have."
About the Survey
The recently completed U.S.-based online survey was conducted from an opt-in pool of customers who had purchased new wireless phones and new service plans from Wirefly.com. The sample of 2,377 respondents was 55% female and 45% male. 36% of respondents were between the ages of 31-44, 34% were 45 and above, 17% were between the ages of 25-30, and 13% were 18-24. The margin of error was 2 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
Wirefly.com is America’s trusted source for cell phones, wireless service plans and wireless accessories. Owned and operated by Simplexity, Wirefly is the internet’s leading authorized dealer for every major cellular carrier in the U.S. Wirefly also offers discounts and services not available in retail wireless stores, including real-time online order status and tracking, and the lowest prices – online or anywhere else -- on cell phone devices from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, LG, BlackBerry and many other cell phone handset manufacturers. Wirefly.com has been named Best of the Web by Forbes magazine as the “best all-around number portability portal” and “Best in Overall Customer Experience” by Keynote Performance Systems. For more information on Wirefly, its wireless products and its services, visit Wirefly.com.
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