Sending texts has now officially surpassed telephone calls (and even mobile calls) as the most popular form of communications among people in the United Kingdom, according to findings from The Office of Communications (Ofcom), the British government’s independent regulator and competition authority for the communications industries.
The average Briton consumer now dispatches 50 text messages per week, or more than 150 billion such messages in total last year (double the number in just four years).
Most tellingly, the volume of calls on traditional landline devices plunged by 10 percent last year, while mobile call volume edged down by 1 percent (for the first time ever).
Overall, phone call volumes fell by 5 percent.
Almost three-fifths of Britons (58 percent) used texts on a daily basis last year, while less than half (47 percent) bothered to make a daily phone call.
Not surprisingly, young adults and teenagers are driving these revolutionary changes in communication behavior.
Virtually all (96 percent) of young Britons between the ages of 16 and 24 are using some kind of text-based application on a daily basis, with 90 percent sending texts and 73 percent addicted to social networking sites.
An increased ownership in internet-connected devices is exacerbating this trend away from traditional forms of communications. Almost 40 percent of Britons now posses a Smartphone, a 12 percent jump from 2010. Almost half of these owners use this device to access the internet.
Tablet ownership is also climbing steadily in Britain – up from just 2 percent in 2010 to 11 percent last year.
“Our research reveals that in just a few short years, new technology has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate,” said James Thickett, Ofcom's Director of Research.
“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 craze for texting has already been witnessed in the United States – according to comScore, three-fourths of Americans (74.8 percent) send texts regularly. Forrester Research estimates that more than 2-trillion SMS messages were sent in the U.S. in 2011, or more than 6 billion per day.
The average U.S. “texter” sends or receives an average of 35 messages per day.
As long ago as early 2009, Nielsen Mobile reported that Americans were sending more text messages than making phone calls on either landline or mobile telephones. That sea change in communication behavior may have occurred in the middle of 2008, Nielsen said, when U.S. mobile subscribers sent and received 357 text messages per month on average, versus making and receiving 204 phone calls each month.