Mobile messaging dominates B2C and C2B comms


Three quarters of people now ‘talk’ to businesses with a mobile message

Businesses are embracing mobile as a communications channel regularly engaging with their customers via text and chat apps.

New research from global trade body Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) supported by Mblox says 76% of consumers have received communications from businesses such as banks, healthcare and retailers via SMS. Also, 65% have engaged with companies via chat apps.

The financial services sector is the most active in enterprise messaging, with 33% of respondents having received an SMS for activities such as account activation and balance checking, and 22% via a chat app.

Retailers and e-commerce (websites and email service providers,) are also using messaging to engage their consumers with 24% using SMS and 17% using chat apps. Additionally, 23% of consumers have received a notification for delivery of goods via SMS and 16% via a chat app. The rise in demand for convenience with services like click-and-collect and last-mile notification is helping to drive this sector, said MEF.

The survey reveals healthcare sector to be a key growth area. Globally 15% of consumers studied have received a message from a healthcare provider via SMS and 12% via a chat app. The UK and US lead this space with 19% of consumers in both markets engaging via chat apps.

Messaging as an authentication channel is also on the rise. The report benchmarks password confirmation as the most popular use of application to person messaging (A2P) globally, with SMS at 30% and chat apps at 25%. In mobile-first markets it is even higher; in Nigeria 49% have received an authentication message from an enterprise, and South Africa 38%.

However, while SMS dominates A2P as the channel of choice, when it comes to person to person messaging (P2P) the ‘big two’ have edged past SMS. When asked which channel they used most, consumers chose Facebook Messenger first (56%), followed by WhatsApp (50%) and SMS (42%).

Rob Malcolm, senior vice president of corporate development at Mblox, said: “The report shows that consumers prefer over the top (OTT) apps for P2P communications and SMS for enterprise-to-consumer communications. Consumers have come to expect companies to communicate with them in real time about every aspect of the service lifecycle and mobile messaging continues to lead the power of that engagement.”

Rimma Perelmuter, CEO at MEF, said: “MEF’s Mobile Messaging report clearly indicates globally consumers and enterprises are embracing all kind of mobile messaging channels across a broad range of uses and verticals. However, there is a clear opportunity for growth with 24% of SMS users and 35% of chat app users currently unengaged.”

The study is part of MEF’s Future of Messaging Programme. It indexes the messaging habits of nearly 6,000 respondents across nine countries worldwide.


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