51% of Americans Texting More Over the Past Year, Outpacing Other Communication Methods

51% of Americans Texting More Over the Past Year, Outpacing Other Communication Methods

Consumers are more comfortable using their phones to communicate directly with brands and colleagues
people walking and texting

Amid a pandemic that prevented Americans from gathering in close quarters with loved ones, it may come as little surprise to know that many began using alternative methods of communication to stay in touch.

In the SMS Survey Report, marketing automation platform Klaviyo revealed that 51% of Americans with cellphones increased their use of texting over the last 12 months, compared to those who used communication methods such as phone calls (42%), email (42%), FaceTime and video calls (41%) and social media messaging.

Mobile phones act as a lifeline for consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic

For 38% of Americans, their phone is the most important thing they own, according to the SMS survey. But although some may chalk this up to an online addiction, a closer look at Klaviyo's findings suggests something different.

For instance, 59% of respondents agreed that their phone has been their lifeline during the pandemic, and a similar number say that it has kept them from feeling isolated and lonely during the health crisis. Another 47% said they literally couldn't live without it — which brings to mind elderly and immunocompromised individuals relying on mobile apps for groceries and other necessary goods and services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The report also showed that consumers have gotten much more comfortable with receiving brand communications via text: A significant amount of respondents say they have received text messages from a brand (85%) and that they usually feel secure interacting with them through text (65%).

Surprisingly, respondents admitted that they're much more likely to ignore texts from loved ones (representing 56% of unread text messages) than ones from brands (44%). Perhaps this is because of the expectations they hold of brand texts, as Klaviyo also found that cellphone users are much more likely to respond to the following kinds of text messages from these companies:

  • Coupons or promotion codes (51%)
  • Loyalty offers and benefits (40%)
  • Notifications about upcoming sales and promotions (39%)
  • Birthday deals (34%)

U.S. workers adopt texting as their preferred method of communication with colleagues and managers

Another surprising figure from the marketing platform indicated how the use of texting has changed over the past year. Although consumers say that texting is their preferred communication platform for friends (48%), family members (44%) and brands (30%), it's also their most commonly used method for communicating with coworkers (55%).

Additionally, just over a third who say they text more often (36%) also use this method to reach their colleagues and managers. Compared to a year ago, American workers now use texting to communicate with their:

  • Coworkers (43%)
  • Managers and supervisors (41%)
  • Clients (34%)

These respondents do so because they believe that people are more responsive to texts (48%) and that it's the easiest way to get their attention (44%). Others use it to be more discreet with their conversations, as two-fifths of this cohort (41%) appreciate the privacy it offers compared to typical workplace communication apps.

However, this shift may also be the cause of certain issues in the workplace — a recent survey conducted by Mopria Alliance found that worker productivity and mental health is affected by everyday distractions, including personal communications.

Methodology: Using an online survey prepared by Method Research and distributed by Dynata, Klaviyo polled 2,000 U.S. respondents (ages 13-75) who own cellphones between July 14-21, 2021. The survey sample was made up of a nationally representative geographic group of respondents, and equally split between gender groups.