The humble, but widely loved, text message celebrated its 30th anniversary on December 3. Three decades ago, British software programmer and test engineer Neil Papworth sent the world’s very first text, which simply read, “Merry Christmas.”
Today, texting is one of the most popular forms of communication, with Americans sending more than 6 billion text messages each day, which translates to 2.2 trillion per year.
So it may not come as a surprise to learn that more than a quarter (26%) of Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) claim to have received a marriage proposal via text. This compares to 17% for Gen Zers (born 1997 to 2012), 6% for Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1980) and 1% for Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964). It’s also fun to wonder how dramatically the Gen Z percentage will increase as more of them progress toward marrying age.
The new data is from Infobip’s 2022 “30th Anniversary of the SMS” survey, which sheds light on how, where and when Americans are communicating with each other. Infobip is a global leader in omnichannel communications.
Texting has become an integral part of the courting process, as a solid majority of Millennials (63%) and Gen Zers (61%) reported sending romantic messages via this medium. The numbers decline slightly among Gen Xers (46%) and dramatically among Baby Boomers (14%).
The survey found that Americans would rather communicate via SMS, Whatsapp or another form of instant messaging (41%) than a phone call (24%). This trend was even more apparent among younger respondents, with approximately half of Gen Zers (48%) and Millennials (53%) preferring messaging over calling.
They survey revealed that texting has penetrated US society so thoroughly that there seem to be no boundaries on how or when it is used, no matter how inappropriate.
- For example, more than half (52%) of Millennials admitted to the dangerous habit of texting while driving, compared to 40.7% of Gen Xers, and about 30% of Baby Boomers and Gen Zers.
- More than a third of the respondents (36.9%) confessed to texting during a work meeting, with Millennials being the biggest offenders (47.3%).
- A significant portion of Millennials (36%) and Gen Zers (30.8%) have texted at a wedding.
- A surprising amount of Millennials (26.8%) reported texting at a funeral.
- Nearly half of Gen Zers (45%) have been dumped over text, compared to 38% of Millennials, 12% of Gen Xers and 4% of Baby Boomers.
The survey affirmed that with 27.5% of respondents checking their text messages within one minute, and 40% checking them within one to five minutes, it’s clear the US is a nation of texters.
The Infobip survey, conducted by Propeller Insights, reflects the responses from 1,000 adults, gender-balanced and distributed across age groups from 18 to 65+ in the United States. The survey took place during October of 2022.
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