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  • 65 per cent of consumers communicate with businesses on chat apps; increasing to 76 per cent globally via SMS
  • 1 in 3 users have interacted with a financial services company via mobile
  • Authentication is a key driver – 30 per cent of consumers worldwide have confirmed passwords via text
  • Facebook (56 per cent), WhatsApp (50 per cent) and SMS (42 per cent) the top three messaging channels for person to person (P2P) messaging

Businesses are embracing mobile as a communications channel regularly engaging with their customers via text and chat apps.

New research from MEF, supported by Mblox, says 76 per cent of consumers have received communications from businesses such as banks, healthcare and retailers via SMS. 65 per cent have engaged with companies via chat apps.

The study is part of MEF’s Future of Messaging Programme. It indexes the messaging habits of nearly 6000 respondents across nine countries worldwide. The report is available now as a free download.

The financial services sector is the most active in enterprise messaging, with 33 per cent of respondents having received an SMS for activities such as account activation and balance checking. 22 per cent have done so via a chat app.

Retailers and eCommerce (websites and email service providers) are also using messaging to engage their consumers with 24 per cent using SMS and 17 per cent using chat apps. 23 per cent of consumers have received a notification for delivery of goods via SMS and 16 per cent via a chat app.  The rise in demand for convenience with services like click-and-collect and last-mile notification is helping to drive this sector.

The survey reveals healthcare sector to be a key growth area. Globally 15 per cent of consumers studied have received a message from a healthcare provider via SMS and 12 per cent via a chat app. The UK and US lead this space with 19 per cent of consumers in both markets engaging via chat apps.

Messaging as an authentication channel is also on the rise. The report benchmarks password confirmation as the most popular use of application to person messaging (A2P) – globally for SMS is 30 per cent and chat apps 25 per cent. In mobile-first markets it’s even higher – Nigeria 49 per cent and South Africa 38 per cent have received an authentication message from an enterprise.

However, while SMS dominates A2P as the channel of choice, when it comes to person to person messaging (P2P) the ‘big two’ have edged past SMS. When asked which channel they used most, consumers chose Facebook Messenger first (56 per cent), followed by WhatsApp (50 per cent) and SMS (42 per cent).

Rob Malcolm, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, Mblox said: “The MEF Mobile messaging report is a treasure trove of data for anyone interested in learning about consumer preferences of mobile messaging.  The report shows that consumers prefer OTT apps for person-to-person communications and SMS for enterprise-to-consumer communications. Consumers have come to expect companies to communicate with them in real time about every aspect of the service lifecycle and mobile messaging continues to lead the power of that engagement. We at Mblox are excited to be at the centre of this trend”

Rimma Perelmuter, CEO at MEF said: “MEF’s Mobile Messaging report clearly indicates globally consumers and enterprises are embracing all kind of mobile messaging channels across a broad range of uses and verticals. However, there is a clear opportunity for growth with 24 per cent of SMS users and 35 per cent of chat app users currently unengaged.”

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