Can Text Be Best? Consumers Prefer Texting Over Email

Consumers prefer texting over email for communicating with businesses — by a wide margin. 

There’s only one problem: A majority of firms have not yet adopted texting, according to State Of Texting, a study by Zipwhip. Only 39% of companies text customers, and the remainder do not. The firms that don’t text probably lack the software to do so. 

Zipwhip surveyed 1,000 consumers and 1,000 businesses.

First, some stats from the consumer side. The average consumer sends 15 texts per day, compared to 12 emails. Texting offers immediacy and brevity.

What’s more, 74% have zero unread texts, versus 41% who can say that about emails. And only 4% of consumers have 7 or more unread texts, compared to 38% who have that many unread emails

Of those polled, 41% will respond to a business email within an hour and 38% will respond within an hour to friends and family. 

However, 74% will response to a text within an hour from a business, and 85% within an hour to one from friends or family. 



Overall, 76% of consumers have been texted by businesses. But just about the same percentage are frustrated when they can’t reply to a text. One-way messaging doesn’t work.

The most likely vertical to rely on texting is real estate, where 73% of businesses text. Next is agriculture, where 65% are active, and entertainment and leisure (62%).

Down at the bottom are automotive (48%) and research (47%). The automotive finding is surprising, given the need to schedule test drives and conduct follow-up support.

Consumers text most about the following activities:

  • Appointments/scheduling — 60% 
  • Alerts/notifications — 23%
  • Customer service support — 21% 
  • Sales/inquiries — 13%
  • Billing/collections — 11% 
  • Marketing promotions — 9%
  • Employment recruiting — 6%

Here are a few additional stats: 

  • 67% would rather communicate by texts about appointments than by email or a phone call
  • 74% prefer to talk to a live person instead of a chatbot
  • Only 10% have heard of RCS, the next iteration of text messaging. And only 5 million people have it on their devices

And here’s one finding that should depress app developers:

61% of consumers will not install a new app to communicate with a business

“The fact of the matter is, people don’t want to download another app,” the study states. “And if they do download it, it’s another thing they have to check in addition to voicemail, email and texts.”

In the end, Zipwhip believes that “more businesses will adopt texting as they discover just how easy texting-for-business software is to implement into workflows and use daily.” And it predicts advances in software.

All well and good. But when the study invites reporters to request access to the raw data, it advises them to…email.  


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