Popularity of 'selfies' and videos expected to drive a spike in MMS this Christmas

Popularity of 'selfies' and videos expected to drive a spike in MMS this Christmas

Research from the global mobile messaging leader, Acision, confirms the ongoing popularity of MMS as a habitual messaging and content sharing service in both the UK and the US. The annual findings, now in their second year, show 51% of British and 58% of American smartphone users currently use the platform. This makes it the second most-popular messaging tool after SMS in the US and third behind SMS and Facebook Messenger in the UK. MMS is more popular with transatlantic women, with 54% of UK and 61% of US women using the platform compared to 47% and 55% of men respectively.

The annual report, conducted by Vanson Bourne, is considered the most comprehensive study into global messaging trends. Surveying 1,000 smartphone users in both countries, the research found that MMS is used at least once a week by around six in seven US subscribers (87%) and two thirds of UK subscribers (66%). Daily use of MMS is stronger in the US, with 38% of MMS users sending at least one ‘picture text’ each day compared to 22% in the UK.

According to JF Sullivan, EVP Product Development and CMO at Acision, “MMS is considered a medium that people trust to communicate with their nearest and dearest, with the overwhelming majority of MMS users (84% in the US and 79% in the UK) using the technology to share ‘special and funny moments’ with friends and family. Our findings also suggest that MMS is viewed as a more intimate platform than other messaging applications”.  

The research highlighted that respondents in the UK only communicate with an average of eight people via the platform while in the US this rises to 12. Both are lower than SMS, which is used to communicate with an average of 13 and 15 people in the UK and US respectively.

Festive periods and special occasions often cause a spike in MMS activity, with 47% of Brits and 53% of Americans sending MMS for Valentine’s Day, New Year or at Christmas, for example. With growing numbers of mobile users looking to share visual content instantly, to show what they are experiencing, Acision predicts there will be a spike in MMS traffic over the festive period. Acision saw such spikes in MMS traffic, of up to 424%, over the winter holiday period last year – specifically on 24th December (Christmas Eve), 25th December (Christmas Day) and 31st December (New Year’s Eve). Comparing data from different countries across Europe, North America (NA), LATAM and APAC, Acision found a significant increase in the usage of MMS across the globe, particularly the sharing of video content. With video and ‘selfies’ becoming even more popular in 2013, it is expected that last years’ figures will be trumped in just a few weeks time.

Sullivan concluded, “Our findings show that MMS is still very much part of people’s everyday mobile experience”. While the arrival of social media and OTT messaging is increasing, they are still not able to generate the same revenues as MMS which, as part of the traditional messaging family, is still the biggest non-voice source of revenue. We expect to see a repeat of last year’s spike in MMS traffic over the Christmas period, as users choose to share intimate moments with their loved ones. Operators must continue to harness this opportunity and invest in new ways to ensure MMS is an affordable and efficient messaging platform for all mobile subscribers”.

Key MMS research findings:

  • 51% of UK and 58% of American mobile users currently use MMS services
  • The platform is more popular with females in both countries. In the US 61% of women use the service compared to 55% of men. In the UK this figure sits at 54% and 47% respectively.
  • 66% of UK and 87% of US MMS users use the technology once week or more. This represents daily usage of 22% in the UK and 38% in the US.
  • The most popular reason to use MMS is to share ‘funny or special moments’ – with 84% of US and 79% of UK MMS users using the technology to do this
  • 44% of respondents in the UK avoid sending MMS due to the high price compared to 19% of US users
  • 40% of Americans and 32% of Brits will use MMS when on holiday or abroad
  • Special occasions cause an MMS surge with 47% of Brits and 53% of American users sending an MMS on occasions such as Christmas, New Year or Valentine’s Day

Acision Research
Conducted by Vanson Bourne in January and April 2013, the research is Acision’s second comprehensive study on the mobile messaging landscape. It is based on interviews with 1000 Smartphone owners in the UK and 1000 Smartphone owners in the US.

About Vanson Bourne
Vanson Bourne is an independent specialist in market research for the technology sector. Their reputation for robust and credible research-based analysis, is founded upon rigorous research principles and the ability to seek the opinions of senior decision makers across technical and business functions, in all business sectors and all major markets. For more information, visit www.vansonbourne.com