Sunday, 9 October 2011

Full Report: SMS in India – how, what & why

SMSVASinurbanIndiancities thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & whyWith the advent of Smartphones, everyone today is
talking about Internet on mobiles, 3G speeds etc etc.
However, SMS, a traditional short message service
on mobile, even today is pretty much the most
frequently used feature after calling..errr even
more than calling.
yes, thats true, majority of Indian population, especially younger crowd, uses SMS more than calling. Even professionals use it for myriad of reasons, including checking bank balances, mobile bills, and status of train/flight etc.

Recent TRAI data shows that Indians are using SMS as an extension of their lives more and more every year, an average Indian sends 29 SMS per month. Just multiply that with number of ever growing Mobile subscribers in India and you will have an idea of amount of SMS traffic India generates!
Following report looks at SMS as a value added service, a marketing tool, advertising medium, a mode of getting consumers involved.

SMS VAS in India – Highlights

  • SMS VAS is the highest revenue earning Value Added Service with almost 5% revenue earned by service providers
  • 1 in 5 urban Indians have used a SMS based VAS service either as a one-off or on subscription basis.
  • SMS is an effective marketing tool, showing conversion rates a lot higher than other conventional mediums i.e. TV/Radio etc. 1 in 3 Urban Indian has acted in some manner over the SMS i.e. forwarding to others or enquiring about it.
  • SMS, an advertising medium, has an interaction rate of around 5%
  • 25% Indians have participated in some sort of SMS contest

Which city uses maximum SMS VAS services?

Delhites seem to be on top here as well, In our previous mobile report, Delhites were at top as well with maximum usage of social networking on Mobile. Mumbai & Chennai come second with 5% usage each.

Which is the most popular SMS VAS service in India?

SMSVASUsageurbanindians thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & why Jokes is the most popular SMS VAS service with 53% of Indian mobile users subscribing to it. Astrology is second most popular SMS VAS service (47%) followed by News alerts (44%) and Jobs (43%).
To me, sports SMS VAS service is a big surprise with around 42% people subscribing to it – or may be not – I think 99% of this would be cricket updates.

Which gender uses which SMS VAS services and for what?

SMSVASmalefemaleusageIndia thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & why
Males are generally more active users of SMS VAS services compared to their counterparts. While males are more interested in getting sports updates (63%) females are interested in spiritual (52.1%) and astrology (50.3%)quotes.

Age wise Distribution of SMS VAS services

SMSVASagewisedistributionIndia thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & why
This is an interesting chart. Jokes are popular amongst people between 18 to 44 years of age.
Astrology is more popular in 45yrs to 54 yrs age group while 56.7% of people with age 55 yrs. and more subscribe to stocks/finance & business.
Close to half of all people aged 55yrs and above also subscribe to jobs. Thats actually a big surprise to me.
Conventional wisdom suggests that by that age, people are pretty satisfied with what they are doing and may not look for new opportunities – but figures suggest otherwise.

How is SMS as a Marketing Tool?

SMSVASMarketingtoolIndia thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & why
SMS is increasingly being viewed by India Inc. as a source of getting in touch with their customers. This is evident from the fact that every second urban Indian acknowledged receiving marketing/promotional SMS on their phone in quarter ending May 2009.
The intensity of using SMS for marketing/promotions is quite high with almost 75% receiving a minimum of 4 such SMS.

What do companies market to subscribers via SMS?

SMSVASmarketingtoolcompanyusage thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & whySMS as a marketing tool is most frequently used (37%) to attract customers in buying ringtones, wallpapers & games.
Second most popular where SMS is used for marketing are entertainment products (36.3%) followed by financial products (33.6%)

How effective is SMS as a Marketing Tool?

SMSVASmarketingtooleffectiveness thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & why
1 in 3 (approx. 32%) of Urban Indians who receive a marketing/promotional SMS took some action, while 2 out 3 deleted or ignore the message completely.
Calling up to enquire (if number available) followed by forwarding message to others are the two most commonly cited actions taken on receipt of marketing/promotional SMS.
11% also indicated they made a purchase on the basis of information. received via SMS.

Gender Wise SMS marketing Effectiveness

SMSgenderwisemarketingeffectiveness thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & why
Females are less likely to ignore and/or delete the message compared to males and are more likely to enquire further i.e. by calling up customer service or walking into the store.
However, males are more involved when it comes to using the coupons/discounts offered in SMS.

Age Wise SMS marketing Effectiveness

SMSAgewisemarketingeffectiveness thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & why
SMS marketing is most effective to people aged between 35 to 44 years old as more than 33.5% of them made a purchase of product or service based on the SMS marketing !

SMS as an Advertising Medium

SMSVASAdvertisingseenread thumb Full Report: SMS in India   how, what & why
8.4% of the urban Indians, approx 22 million have seen an ad in a SMS they have received, while 65% of those who have seen have also read the advertisement message.
Such high level of awareness indicates the importance of this medium for advertising.

Other Usages of SMS in India

  • 2% of urban Indians, approx 6 million have used SMS to get directions
  • 7% have used SMS to get reminders for upcoming bill payments
  • SMS was used as a tool for getting in touch with population by almost all national and regional political parties in recently concluded federal elections.
  • 10% of urban Indians received SMS message(s) from one or more political parties.

Note: The report is analyzed using mobile service usage data for March 2009 to May 2009 time frame. 5,959 respondents were interviewed and their data projected to Urban Indian population owning a mobile phone, approx 271 million. Margin of error is 1.27%.


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