The huge rise in chat apps in the UK is mainly down to teenagers and young adults sending winks or heart emoticons to each other in a new era of digital flirting, according to new research.
According to Deloitte, the number of instant messages sent in Britain alone is expected to reach 300 billion. This number is almost double the 160 billion texts sent in the country last year, as young smartphone users switch from paid texts to free (or very low cost) wi-fi powered apps Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Apple’s iMessage to flirt with each other.
According to Deloitte’s researchers, the average consumer sends about seven texts a day, but when it comes to instant messages, that number spikes up to about 46 messages a day, which is roughly three per waking hour.
Deloitte says it plans to issue a report in September that shows how a small number of “superusers” send thousands of messages each month.
Instant messages are also replacing voice calls and other forms of remote communication, too. But it’s interesting to note that this sea change in how we communicate is being spurred by just a small fraction of all phone users — roughly 25%.
In May, Deloitte said 25% of mobile users used an instant messaging app in the past week, while almost 90% of smartphone owners sent a text and 80% made a phone call.
The percentage of mobile users relying on instant messages as the prime form of communication, however, is only expected to grow.