SMS Still Dominant on 20th Anniversary of First Message says Mindshare

SMS is still the world’s favorite form of mobile communication, despite the increasing prevalence of smart phones enabling social networking in developed countries, according to Mindshare, the global media agency network.
Dec. 3, 2012 - PRLog -- Today is the 20th anniversary of the first SMS. But with instant messaging, social networks, mobile video calling and email all now common on many handsets, recent reports in the United States that SMS usage had dropped for the first time seemed to signal the decline of the mobile phone’s simplest form of written communication.

However, the numbers tell a different story. One billion people around the world are estimated to own a smartphone; six times that number have a ‘feature’ phone and research by Informa Telecoms and Media has found that global SMS traffic is expected to increase to 8.7 trillion messages in 2015 from 5 trillion messages in 2010, signaling a big opportunity for retailers and marketers alike.

Norm Johnston, Global Digital Leader Mindshare Worldwide, believes that there is plenty of life left in SMS.

“Here at Mindshare, we believe SMS is still highly relevant in emerging markets. Smartphone penetration levels remain low in much of Asia and Africa where feature phones are more commonly found, and even as it grows, SMS will still have a key role to play in phone usage,” he says.

“Used in the right way, it can be a great, cost-effective way to engage with people or get them to further engage with a brand. SMS can be used in rural areas where there are no 3G or 4G signals, creating the opportunities for feedback or simple advertisements. In fact, an entire shorthand language has been established and is an acceptable form of communication, even from brands, in certain countries,” he adds.

With the global economy still sluggish, brands continue to use SMS as a cost-effective form of reaching their target audiences. Even in mature advertising markets such as Europe, SMS still has life according to Mindshare.

A report by OECD, Trends Shaping Education, suggests that between 2000 and 2050, the number of people aged 65+ in Europe compared with the 15-64 year-olds are expected to more than double. As the average age of a European consumer rises, due to longer life spans and lower birth rates, brands will increasingly seek to engage these more affluent and older consumers in the channels that appeal to them. In mobile, that will include SMS.

“The continuing unease over the complexity of controlling your communications, particularly on social networks, means many, including the older generations, find SMS a reliable, straightforward means to communicate with others. You know exactly who it’s going to, and your message won’t trigger a persistent sequence of sponsored communications,” says Johnston.


Notes to the Editor:


Mindshare is a global media agency network with billings in excess of US$29.2 billion (source: RECMA). The network consists of 113 offices in 82 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, each dedicated to forging competitive marketing advantage for businesses and their brands. Mindshare is part of GroupM, which oversees the media investment management sector for WPP, the world’s leading communications services group.  


GroupM is the leading global media investment management operation. It serves as the parent company to WPP media agencies including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, and Mindshare.  Our primary purpose is to maximize the performance of WPP’s media communications agencies on behalf of our clients, our stakeholders and our people by operating as a parent and collaborator in performance-enhancing activities such as trading, content creation, sports, digital, finance, proprietary tool development and other business-critical capabilities. The agencies that comprise GroupM are all global operations in their own right with leading market positions. The focus of GroupM is the intelligent application of physical and intellectual scale to benefit trading, innovation, and new communication services, to bring competitive advantage to our clients and our companies.

Visit Mindshare online at

For further information contact:

David Alexander, Calacus PR: or +44-7802-412424

Laura Church, Calacus PR: or +44-7525-041447

Nathalie Agnew, Calacus PR: or +44-07985-595510
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