July 18, 2012

Those Brits Love To Text!

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

According to a new study, the average Brit now sends as many as 50 texts each week, more than double what they sent 4 years ago. All told, they sent more than 150 billion text messages in 2011. This study, courtesy of Ofcom, even suggests Brits prefer to talk to one another with their thumbs rather than their mouths.

While 58% of the UK population communicated with one another daily via text, only 47% opted to do so with the old-fashioned phone call, a trend which is led by the younger, 16 to 24 set.

In the report, James Thickett, Ofcom's Director of Research, said: “Our research reveals that in just a few short years, new technology has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate. Talking face to face or on the phone are no longer the most common ways for us to interact with each other.”

“In their place, newer forms of communications are emerging which don't require us to talk to each other especially among younger age groups. This trend is set to continue as technology advances and we move further into the digital age.”

The popularity of texting and socializing online and the technology which facilitates this kind of communication are dependent upon one another, according to the study. The more young people want to talk to one another through their phones and social networking profiles, the more quickly the technology to provide this experience is developed. For example, the report also found tablet ownership has jumped from 2% to 11% in only 12 months, while 1 in every 10 UK adults has an e-reader. While the number of tablet-toting Brits has increased dramatically, the report says the more important device for connecting to the Internet is the smartphone. In fact, two-fifths of UK adults now carry a smartphone, a statistic which has not only changed the way these adults are chatting with one another, it´s also changing the way they shop.

According to the report, more than half of the smartphone users surveyed take their phones with them when they hit the market. Carrying their phones with them as they shop isn´t anything revolutionary. After all, mobile phones are meant to be taken everywhere. It´s what these UK adults are doing with their phones while they shop that is revolutionary: More than half of these smartphone carrying shoppers say they use their phones to scope out bargains while they´re in stores, then make the purchase online, a phenomenon known as “Robo” (Research offline, buy online) buying.

In the end, all of this connectivity has had a drastic effect on the way UK citizens communicate with one another. Overall, 68% of British adults prefer to text rather than talk to their friends and loved ones in the traditional sense.

According to a 2011 Pew survey, Americans may still prefer to talk to one another rather than text. Three quarters of all cellphone carrying Americans actively send and receive texts. Of these 73% or so of texting Americans, only 31% said they prefer texting over talking. Not surprisingly, heavy-texting Americans–50 or more texts every day– said they´d rather communicate with their thumbs than put a phone up to their ears to chat their friends. Just like the Ofcom survey, the Pew Internet survey found that young people are driving this trend among Americans.