Consumers & Messaging: Apps Preferred For P2P; Text For Businesses

MEF-Mobile-Messaging-with-Businesses-Jul2016Consumers’ messaging preferences differ when communicating with each other and with businesses, according to an interesting report [download page] from the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF). The study indicates that mobile messaging with businesses is quite mainstream, with 65% of mobile users surveyed having communicated with businesses via messaging app, and 76% having done so via SMS.

Messaging Businesses (A2P)

The most common institution that consumers message with is the financial one, per the report, with 33% having sent or received a text message with a bank of other financial institution in the prior 12 months, and 22% having sent or received a messaging app. Other businesses relatively commonly messaged include:

  • A company promoting goods (26% via SMS; 15% via messaging app);
  • A website or email service provider (24% via SMS; 16% via messaging app); and
  • A company concerning order info (23% via SMS; 16% via messaging app).

Analyzing the use of messaging with businesses across the 9 countries tracked in the survey, the study reveals that Nigeria is the country where mobile users were the most likely to have messaged business, whether by SMS (92% having done so) or app (82%). By contrast, far fewer respondents in Germany had messaged a company via SMS (56%) or app (47%). The US was right around the global average, with 77% having messaged a company via SMS and 65% via app.

Meanwhile, messaging usage varies by business type and country.

  • Respondents in the UK were more than twice as likely as the global average to have messaged a healthcare provider by SMS (33% vs. 15%), and were also far more likely than average to have messaged a healthcare provider via an app (19% vs. 12%). The US figures were 26% and 19%, respectively.
  • Globally, respondents prefer to communicate with their retailer in-person (35%) over any other means, though in China the telephone is the preferred medium. Consumers prefer SMS (15%) to messaging apps (8%) by about a 2:1 margin in terms of retailer communication preferences, though apps are preferred by consumers in Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Nigeria.
  • The most common use of messaging with businesses is to confirm a password (30% via SMS; 25% via messaging app), with the next-most common use being to check a balance or credit limit.
  • More than 1 in 5 (22%) have ever acted on a message received from a company with an offer based on their physical location.
  • Globally, more consumers trust SMS most than messaging apps to communicate with businesses, though consumers in Brazil, Germany and South Africa place the most trust in messaging apps.

Messaging Other People (P2P)

While SMS is preferred over apps for business communications, the reverse is true for P2P messaging. The service that most consumers use regularly to communicate with each other is Facebook Messenger, cited by 56% of respondents. WhatsApp is also regularly used by 50% of respondents, while fewer (42%) use SMS to communicate with each other regularly.

As for the app or service used the most often? WhatsApp takes the lead, noted by 37% of respondents. Some 21% use Facebook Messenger the most, followed by SMS (16%) and WeChat (9%).

As with business communications, preferences for P2P messaging also vary by geography. in Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria, WhatsApp is regularly used by more respondents than Facebook Messenger, unlike the global average. In France, SMS (70%) takes the lead over Facebook (67%), while in China 79% of respondents regularly use WeChat, while no more than 1 in 6 use any other service regularly.

Interestingly, while 50% of mobile media users worldwide use WhatsApp regularly to communicate with each other, that figure plummets to just 9% in the US. in fact, respondents in the US were twice as likely to regularly use Snapchat (20%) as WhatsApp.

About the Data: MEF’s Mobile Messaging Survey 2016 was carried out by On Device Research in Q2 2016. It surveyed nearly 6000 mobile media users in 9 countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Nigeria, South Africa, UK and US.