Figures released today by the Mobile Data Association (MDA) show that a record 2.9 billion text messages were sent during October, at an average of 93.5 million texts per day. The cumulative total for 2005, to the end of October, stands at 29 billion texts, with the MDA forecasting a total of 32 billion for the whole year.
The rise reflects growth in both person-to-person messaging, and in commercial messages from businesses to consumers. Person-to-person texts sent across the UK GSM network operators in October were up by 25.7% over October 2004, while in the b2c arena, retailers are using SMS to drive store traffic and business in the run up to Christmas.
Clothes retailer Topshop has launched an SMS style advice service to complement its existing in-store service. Consumers can book appointments with advisers, receive advice, reserve items and receive picture messages of recommended additions for the wardrobe, all from their handset.
Meanwhile, flower retailer Interflora's pre-Christmas campaign uses a combination of SMS and direct mail to remind customers that flowers can be ordered right up until 11.00 am on Christmas Eve morning.