Texting Frequency Levels Off Among US Adults

by Yuyutsu Sen on September 22, 2011

There has to be a limit to the number of text messages a person can send per day. Although some reports show that tweens and teens can send hundreds of text messages in a day, the results of a recent survey conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project indicate that the over the last year the texting frequency among adult Americans has leveled off. The telephonic survey was conducted this year from April through May and included 2,277 respondents.

On an average, adult mobile users in US sent 27.7 text messages each day in 2009. In 2010, this figure increased to 39.1 messages. But numbers released by Pew suggest that since the last year there has not been a significant increase in the figure. According to the report, this year the average number of text messages sent by adult Americans per day is 45.1. No significant increase in the messaging activity since the last year may be a sign that adult mobile users in the country have reached their natural texting level. The author of the report opines that the leveling out of texting activity does not indicate saturation; it just signifies the attainment of natural level of texting.

There may be one more reason behind the insignificant increase in messaging activity since last year. With increase in the popularity of smartphones, some users may prefer to communicate through social networks or emails than text messages. The report released on Monday indicates that the number of cell phone calls per day has also remained unchanged since last year. On an average, mobile phone owners received or made 12 calls each day. The findings suggest normalization of both calling and text messaging activity among US adults.

The survey also shed light on some other aspects. 53% survey respondents said that they preferred communicating through voice calls rather than texts, while 31% preferred text messaging over calling. The age of mobile phone user also seems to have an impact on the texting activity. The highest number of text messages i.e. 3,200 texts per month or 109.5 messages per day, were sent by users between 18 and 24 years of age. It remains to be seen whether these users maintain this texting frequency as they age. Older mobile users seem to use text messages less frequently.

The frequency of texting drops significantly in the subsequent age group i.e. 25-34 year old users. People belonging to this age group send on an average 41.8 messages each day. Texting frequency drops further with age as users older than 55 years send only 4-10 text messages per day. Income of the users also seems to affect the texting frequency. Mobile users belonging to higher income groups seem to text less frequently than those belonging to lower income groups. Survey respondents with annual income more than $75,000 averaged 31.9 messages per day compared to 58.8 texts per day averaged by those with yearly income less than $30,000. 73% or three-fourth of survey respondents regularly exchanged text messages.

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Written by: Yuyutsu Sen. www.digitcom.ca.

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