SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New research shows that one of the permanent changes to come out of COVID-19 is the way consumers and businesses communicate. Zipwhip, the leading business-texting platform in the U.S., surveyed 2,000 consumers and businesses for its 2021 State of Texting report and found that 70% of businesses are texting their customers today.
Business texting has gained traction in the past five years as channels like email have become more crowded, and the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated adoption. Out of all businesses that started texting in 2020, 34% did so as a direct result of the pandemic and 77% of those businesses say they’ll keep texting after it’s through.
The increase in business texting matches consumer behavior and demands. Most consumers (58%) said that between texts, phone calls or emails, texts are the best way for businesses to reach them quickly.
“Most businesses have realized over the past few years that texting was their missing communication channel, and for the remaining few who hadn’t yet, COVID-19 was a wakeup call,” said John Lauer, CEO of Zipwhip. “The overnight shift to remote work, remote socializing, remote errands, cemented the need for a quick and easy way to communicate with customers. After forming this habit for the last year, we’re not going back.”
With in-person interactions curtailed, consumers are turning to their phones instead. Sixty-four percent of consumers are spending more time on their personal cell phones every day, and of those, 26% are spending more than four additional hours a day on their devices. And the attachment starts early in the day – 67% of consumers check their phones within 5 minutes of waking up in the morning and 34% check them immediately, a 62% increase from last year. We can attribute this changing behavior to COVID-19 and the many other crises that 2020 brought. More than ever before, consumers felt the need to read the latest news and check in with loved ones the moment they woke up.
Looking to 2021, one of the biggest opportunities for businesses lies within consumers’ desire to make payments over text. Nearly half (46%) of consumers say they would like the option to pay a business by text if it was done securely, yet only 29% of businesses say they would consider accepting payments by text. And while 45% of businesses have adopted contactless payments like Apple Pay or Square, the real opportunity lies in payments by text since the buyer and seller can be in completely different locations. In 2020, Zipwhip and Authvia launched TXT2PAY, which allows customers to make secure payments by simply replying to a payment request text with the last four digits of their phone number.
Beyond payments, businesses have an opportunity in 2021 to capitalize on additional texting preferences from their customers. Consumers said that the most valuable kinds of texts they received from businesses in 2020 were appointment reminders (64%), shipment and delivery updates (48%) and discounts on products or services (29%).
The challenges of 2020 didn’t stop at the pandemic – 25% of businesses said they were impacted by natural disasters or other property damage, 36% said their revenue decreased and 21% had to reduce headcount. Despite these setbacks, businesses said they were optimistic for 2021. On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all optimistic and 5 is very optimistic, businesses responded with an average of 3.5. And a positive indicator for the small business community, which has taken the biggest hit from COVID-19 – when asked how their shopping habits have changed, 36% of consumers said they’re buying more from small and local businesses since the pandemic set in.
Visit www.zipwhip.com/state-of-texting for the full report, including more than 30 new findings on business and consumer communication trends.
For the purpose of this report, Zipwhip surveyed over 2,000 businesses and consumers. Zipwhip surveyed each participant individually and blindly from a purchased panel sample through SurveyMonkey. All respondents are from the United States and followed a census breakdown of gender and age. The survey was run in December 2020. No participants were compensated for their participation.
Zipwhip is the leading business-texting platform in North America, helping more than 35,000 organizations engage their customers and drive growth through texting. Zipwhip has text-enabled more than 5 million landline and toll-free phone numbers so that businesses can reach their customers immediately, on the channel they prefer. Organizations can text-enable their business lines in minutes and seamlessly fit texting into their existing workflows using Zipwhip’s out-of-the-box software or customizable APIs. And with the most direct carrier connections of any texting provider, Zipwhip offers the fastest and most reliable message delivery in the industry so you know your customers get the message every time. Your customers are only a text away: https://www.zipwhip.com.