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Texting 101

Business text messaging stats across use cases and industries

Fatima Puri
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It’s been over 28 years since engineer Neil Papworth sent the world’s first text message via computer to a cell phone that read “Merry Christmas.” Since then, trillions of texts have been sent globally, and the number continues to rise. Texting has also crawled its way into the business world after becoming ubiquitous amongst the general population. With business texting becoming inevitable, here are some stats and figures that demonstrate why texting is the investment that keeps on giving.

Texting stats 

Before we dive into the numbers on business texting, let’s take a step back and look at the increasing popularity of texting as an overall medium of communication. 

The popularity of texting

  • Eighty-one percent of Americans text regularly.
  • Text messaging is the most dominant form of communication among US teens.
  • Americans text twice as much as they call, on average.

With so many texts being sent, it’s even more interesting to know that they have a 98 percent open rate.

Not only that, 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes of being received. Forty-five percent of texts receive a response, and the average response time for a text is around 90 seconds.

But aren’t most of the people sending texts from a younger generation?

While the majority of texters are under 30, that doesn’t mean older age groups aren’t texting or using smartphones. Studies show that 70 percent of adults 50-plus own a smartphone Among those aged 50-69, text messaging has overtaken email as the communication tool most used to stay connected.

Texting stats infographic
Top texting stats.

Business texting stats 

While SMS has grown leaps and bounds globally, business texting is still ramping up with anxious anticipation. At least 78 percent of people wish they could have a text conversation with a business, but only 13 percent of companies offer two-way communication with their customers.

Business texting compared to other communication channels

SMS vs. Phone and Email

  • Customer support calls can cost upwards of $12 per conversation. Texts cost pennies per conversation.
  • SMS open rates are nearly four times that of email.
  • The response rate of SMS text message marketing is 45 percent vs. email response rates at six percent.
  • On average, it takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text and 90 minutes to respond to an email.
Email icon with 4x
SMS open rates are nearly four times that of email.

Business texting stats by use case

While support is one of the more common departments  businesses are starting to implement text messaging, it’s also significantly transforming how other departments work. Some other business texting use cases include sales, marketing, and operations.

Support texting stats

One of the most common use cases for business texting is for customer support teams. Because texting is quick, personable, and widely-used, it makes for a convenient  channel for customers to contact support teams.

  • More than half of consumers prefer contacting customer support through text.
  • Sixty percent of customers want to text businesses actively back about customer support issues.
  • Texting is the highest-rated contact method for customer satisfaction than all other communication channels, including social media.

Sales texting stats

Business texting for sales has proven useful for increasing response rates and, most importantly, closing more deals. Take a look at how business texting helps sales teams perform their roles better.

  • Ninety percent of leads prefer to be texted, compared to called.
  • Sales prospects who are sent text messages convert 40 percent higher than those who aren’t sent text messages.
  • Texting in the sales process with a qualified lead can increase conversions by over 100 percent.
Phone icon with 90%
Ninety percent of leads prefer to be texted, compared to called.

Marketing texting stats

One of the main struggles for marketing is qualifying better leads and re-engaging old customers. Business texting makes qualifying leads easier, and its individualized nature makes it easier to reconnect with customers who have opted-in for SMS.

  • SMS marketing campaigns perform seven times better than email marketing campaigns. 
  • Consumers redeem SMS-delivered coupons ten times more than other types of coupons.
  • From 2015 to 2017 alone, SMS marketing grew 197 percent as a strategy in B2B efforts.
  • CTR for links in text messages is much higher (9.18 percent) compared to other marketing channels such as Google Adwords (1.91 percent) and Facebook (0.90 percent).
Megaphone with 7x
SMS marketing campaigns perform seven times better than email marketing campaigns.

Operations texting stats

No-shows are a massive pain for operations. According to research, appointment no-shows can cost small businesses over 21 percent of potential revenue that could have easily been retained with an appointment reminder via text. 

  • People prefer text most for scheduling or changing appointments and making or confirming reservations.
  • Fifty-five percent of the respondents to a Twilio survey said they would like to reply to reminder alerts to confirm, ask for details, reschedule, or cancel an appointment.
  • Sending business appointment reminders to customers through SMS reduced missed appointments by 26 percent.

Texting stats based on industry

This section will break down the statistics of texting in some business verticals that have been early adopters to  SMS-based communication. These companies are well-positioned to use business texting because they’re in contact with many potential customers, colleagues, or partners. 

Healthcare industry texting stats

Healthcare industries, ranging from hospitals to pharmacies to medical staffing agencies are among the top business texting users. One of their most common use cases is reducing the number of no-shows with text confirmations and reminders. No-shows cost the healthcare industry more than $150 billion per year.

  • Forty-three percent of customers surveyed said they are more likely to opt into texts for healthcare industries.
  • A survey found that 85 percent of hospitals and 83 percent of physician practices use secure texting between care teams, patients, and families.
  • Ninety-six percent of hospitals are budgeting or are investing in comprehensive clinical texting platforms.

Retail and e-commerce texting stats

Nowadays, most people are shopping on their cell phones, as 58 percent of Shopify orders come from mobile alone. That’s likely why e-commerce is one of the largest business texting industries. Forty-seven percent of marketers believe the industry uses SMS most effectively to handle customer support, abandoned carts, order confirmation, logistics, or decision-making in the sales process.

  • Forty-six percent of customers surveyed said they are more likely to opt into texts for e-comm or retail businesses.
  • Up to 80 percent of consumers preferred to track their orders via text when products were shipped.
Shipping box with 80%
Up to 80 percent of consumers preferred to track their orders via text when products were shipped.

Professional services texting stats

Professional services — like real estate, legal, or finance — need to respond to leads and need a tool to manage their influx of messages. And consumers are already accustomed to handling personal business matters from their phone. For example, adults 50-59 are also more likely to do banking activities on their phones, making texting an ideal place for professional services to stay-in-contact with their customers.

  • Sixty-seven percent of smartphone users in the US like to receive service-based messages from their banks.
  • Forty-one percent of customers surveyed say they are more likely to opt into texts for banking or financial services.
  • Ninety-three percent of the National Association of Realtors members prefer to communicate with their clients through real estate text messages or telephone.

The future of business texting

Now that we have a better understanding of how business texting currently operates, it’s time to look ahead. Here is what the data shows us about the future of texting. Hint: it’s only getting bigger from here. 

  • Twenty percent of marketing leaders plan on using SMS in their marketing strategies in the next 12 months.
  • An estimated 3.5 trillion SMS business messages will be sent in 2023.

The bottom line

There’s no denying it — business texting is a must-have for most industries if they want to succeed in their overall company goals. Whether they use it for customer support or to communicate logistics internally, texting can ease multiple pain points for businesses and ultimately make them more productive and profitable in the long run.

Additional sources: G2, Pew Research Center, The Local Project, Business2Community, Rebrandly, TechJury, FinancesOnline

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