Instant messaging to soon surpass email, new research finds

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Instant messaging will soon surpass email in terms of usage, a new research report claims.

According to new data from research and analytical firm Juniper Research, 43 trillion instant messages will be sent on IM services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat in 2015, surpassing email for the first time. Last year, email accounted for the majority of internet messaging traffic, at around 35 trillion messages sent globally. However, the fact is that around 80 percent of all email sent is categorized as spam.

The research titled ‘Mobile & Online Messaging: SMS, RCS & IM Markets 2015-2019’ cited the low cost of most messaging services as one of the top reasons which led to significant migration from SMS. It noted that WhatsApp, which has more than 400 million active users, hosts more than 30 billion messages per day, while services like WeChat and Snapchat have had similar success. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also experiencing sharp uplifts in usage, with Facebook alone now seeing more than 5.8bn posts, likes and comments per day.

The report claims that mobile and online messaging traffic will reach 160 trillion a year by 2019, up from 94.2 trillion this year, adding up to approximately 438 billion messages sent and received by users on a daily basis by 2019. The figures incorporate SMS, MMS, IM (Instant Messaging), Social Media and Email.

The research noted that, while other forms of message are becoming popular, SMS remains a hugely successful messaging format for businesses to reach customers. The research report cited example of UK mobile operator EE which uses SMS to communicate with its customers, and states that 99 per cent of all text messages are read by the recipient, with 90 per cent being read within three minutes.

The research also found that enterprises continued to regard A2P SMS as more reliable and secure than IM for services such as verification and notification, driving A2P revenues to more than $70 billion by 2019, up from $62.8 billion this year. The report further highlighted the comparatively slow adoption of Over-The-Top internet messaging services.

Despite IM’s considerable growth, Juniper’s findings indicate that “IM’s equivalent per-message revenue return is forecast to be less than 1% of that generated through SMS and MMS in 2019.”