Are We Watching the Death of SMS? - eMarketer

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Are We Watching the Death of SMS?

OTT mobile messaging service volume outshines SMS by a long shot

March 2, 2015

It’s not uncommon to see smartphone users with their heads down, rapidly typing away during an intense messaging conversation, and SMS is losing its share of the action thanks to the rise of over-the-top (OTT) mobile messaging services such as WeChat. Data released in October 2014 by Parks Associates forecast that the volume of OTT mobile messages worldwide would rise from 10.0 trillion to a massive 67.0 trillion between 2013 and 2018. Meanwhile, global text message volume was expected to fall from 9.0 trillion to 6.7 trillion.

SMS Traffic Worldwide, by Region, 2004-2014 (billions)

SMS volume has peaked already, based on September 2014 figures from Portio Research. The company reported that SMS traffic worldwide hit its all-time high in 2012, when it came in at 7.760 trillion, and forecast that volume would decline annually through at least 2018, falling to 6.392 trillion that year. Volume was expected to total 7.268 trillion this year.

Last year, SMS traffic fell 2.0% globally year over year, hitting 7.475 trillion. North America saw the biggest drop, falling 5.4% last year. The Middle East and Africa and Asia-Pacific—where many mobile messaging apps started—saw traffic fall at respective rates of 2.0% and 0.9% in 2014, while Europe’s decline in volume was in the middle (1.2%). Latin America stood out as the only region still experiencing growth in traffic.

US Text Messaging Revenues, 2014-2018 (billions)

In September 2014 estimates, 451 Research forecast that text messaging revenues in the US would fall over $2 billion between 2014 and 2018, from $20.96 billion to $18.65 billion. This year, the firm predicted that revenues from SMS messages would total $20.49 billion.

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