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Business embracing text and chat apps as a channel to regularly engage customers, finds MEF

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New research from global trade body Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) supported by Mblox says that 76% of consumers have received communications from businesses such as banks, healthcare and retailers via text and that 65% have engaged with companies via chat apps.

The study, part of MEF’s Future of Messaging Programme, indexes the messaging habits of nearly 6000 respondents across nine countries worldwide. The move to using text and chat apps is also going to be heavily covered at World Telemedia Marbella on 18-20th October.

The financial services sector is the most active in enterprise messaging, with 33% of respondents having received an SMS for activities such as account activation and balance checking. 22% have done so via a chat app.

Retailers and eCommerce (websites and email service providers) are also using messaging to engage their consumers with 24% using SMS and 17% using chat apps. 23% of consumers have received a notification for delivery of goods via SMS and 16% via a chat app.  The rise in demand for convenience with services like click-and-collect and last-mile notification is helping to drive this sector.

The survey reveals healthcare sector to be a key growth area. Globally 15% of consumers studied have received a message from a healthcare provider via SMS and 12% via a chat app. The UK and US lead this space with 19% of consumers in both markets engaging via chat apps.

Messaging as an authentication channel is also on the rise. The report benchmarks password confirmation as the most popular use of application to person messaging (A2P) – globally for SMS is 30% and chat apps 25%. In mobile-first markets it’s even higher – Nigeria 49% and South Africa 38% have received an authentication message from an enterprise.

However, while text dominates A2P as the channel of choice, when it comes to person to person messaging (P2P) the ‘big two’ have edged past SMS. When asked which channel they used most, consumers chose Facebook Messenger first (56%), followed by WhatsApp (50%) and SMS (42%).

Rob Malcolm, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, Mblox says: “The MEF Mobile messaging report is a treasure trove of data for anyone interested in learning about consumer preferences of mobile messaging.  The report shows that consumers prefer OTT apps for person-to-person communications and text for enterprise-to-consumer communications. Consumers have come to expect companies to communicate with them in real time about every aspect of the service lifecycle and mobile messaging continues to lead the power of that engagement. We at Mblox are excited to be at the centre of this trend”

Rimma Perelmuter, CEO at MEF adds: “MEF’s Mobile Messaging report clearly indicates globally consumers and enterprises are embracing all kind of mobile messaging channels across a broad range of uses and verticals. However, there is a clear opportunity for growth with 24% of SMS users and 35% of chat app users currently unengaged.”

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