Christmas Sparks MMS Spike

Research from 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”.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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