Since the invention of the telephone and emails, communication has spread through different mediums —not only in written text forms but also in the visual aspects, for example, video calls. What was once the norm of messaging (SMS) through mobile carriers can now be done on the internet as well as via a selection of chat apps available for free.
While some prefer chat apps over SMS texting, text messages remain an important medium of communication, especially for people without internet access. Also, even with the rise of chat apps, mobile carriers such as AT&T and Verizon still offer pension benefits, among a host of other incentives, to their employees. These companies are not going anywhere anytime soon.
The Rise of Online Messaging
Going as far back as 2013, Viber and WhatsApp have catapulted farther into the mainstream and are still quite active today. According to the BBC, around 19 billion messages sent per day were from the use of chat apps in 2012, compared to 17.6 billion SMS texts. Setting aside the data, what has made chat apps so popular?
A New Generation
Millennials and Generation Z are demographics that increase over time. Given this, their familiarity with Facebook, WhatsApp, and other similar apps is unmatched. This is also because it was their medium of communication growing up, as opposed to text messaging.
The GlobalWebIndex also states that a third of millennials use Messenger or WhatsApp, while members of the Generation Z spend an average of three hours on messaging applications. Besides popularity, these apps are being used simply because they are faster, as reported by AdWeek.
Features and Convenience
As of 2016, there are around 1.5 billion users who have messaging apps. This number is even expected to increase to almost 2.5 billion by the end of 2021. Since the use of these apps is mostly free, users have also been able to create group chats and send multimedia data more easily, compared to a conventional text message with a word limit.
As mentioned earlier, group chats and multimedia features are some of the key reasons people engage in chat apps. For businesses such as hotels, where customer service and communication are important, giving them access or freedom to book a reservation, for example, by using a chat app, will be very convenient for both parties, as compared with an establishment with limited options.
Being open to these services also means being easily accessible and visible to guests and new clients. This also does not limit the customers as to how they want to communicate. Aside from hotels, other businesses are also taking advantage of these chat apps in reaching their client bases as well as communicating with other businesses. This medium of communication is already powerful today and will gain even more traction in the future.
Communication has gone far and is clearly shaping new trends among personal purposes and businesses reaching out. Data collected from the past and the present indicate that chat apps are the leading mediums of communication. However, text messaging is not far gone and is still the norm in many developing countries.