October 22, 2008

Thanks to Millennials, Older Adults Increasingly Adopt Text Messaging

New research from Sprint reveals texting is gaining popularity among older demographic; deemed more efficient than voice mail

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Oct 22, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Think texting is just for the young? Think again. New research from Sprint (NYSE:S) confirms that the under-30 crowd is definitely texting in mass, and they're driving their parents to text, too. The number of adults who are texting has risen from just two years ago, when a 2006 Pew Research study cited that 13 percent of adults ages 50-64 used the text messaging function on their mobile phone. The Sprint study reveals that now 20 percent of adults ages 55-64 send text messages.

Seventy-six percent of adults ages 55-64 who are texting are sending messages to their children. According to 2007 U.S. Census Bureau data, 57 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds have children ages 18-24. With those kids away at college or living in different cities, texting is a fast and efficient way for parents to stay in touch. According to a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. (ORC), a text is far more likely to elicit a quick response than voice mail. In fact, those under the age of 30 are four times more likely to respond within minutes to a text message compared to a voice mail, and 91 percent respond to a text message within one hour. Adults 30 and older are also quick to text -- and are twice as likely to respond within minutes to a text message as compared to a voice message.

"In addition to the increasing number of older adults texting, we found that one in 10 adults over 30 don't text because they aren't sure how to," said Kim Dixon, senior vice president of retail for Sprint. "For Sprint customers, learning to text can be easy. Visit your local Sprint store and see any of our retail associates to experience the Ready Now difference. They'll sit down and teach you how to text, send photos or use any of the other features on your wireless handset or smart phone."

Ready Now helps customers fully realize the benefits of everything the Now Network(TM) can do for them. In addition, Sprint offers texting on phones that have the ease of use of the award-winning One Click wireless user interface. As simple to use as speed dial, One Click allows users to personalize their home screen and bring the Now Network right to their fingertips by selecting and organizing features and content such as text messaging, Google search, Sprint Navigation, email, favorite Web sites, music, call log and more.

Other key findings from the research include:

  • With the exception of ages 65+, all age groups are more likely to respond to a text message more quickly than a voice message. Predictably, among adults under 30 years of age, 78 percent say they respond immediately or within minutes to a text message. Even 54 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds said they respond to a text message immediately or in minutes.
  • Nearly all (96 percent) of those under 30 who are texting send messages to their friends, and 51 percent text their parents. The texting habits of adults ages 55-64 are almost the polar opposite -- 76 percent text their kids, but only 56 percent text friends.
  • Adults ages 55-64 are three times more likely to text their children than a co-worker, even though their young co-workers are more likely to respond to a text message faster than a voice message.
  • Texting frequency steadily declines with age. Eighty-five percent of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed text at least once a day, and 67 percent text 10 or more times per day, compared to 41 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds who text at least once a day, and 12 percent who send 10 or more messages a day.

"This research confirms the anecdotal information we've been hearing from parents: Their children respond faster to text messages than to voice messages," said Dixon. "But, the research also indicates that children are more likely to get a quick response from their parents using text messaging. Given the high response rate to 'text message your children' among parental age groups (68 percent among 45- to 54-year-olds, 76 percent among 55- to 64-year-olds and 65 percent among those 65 and older), it is pretty clear that the increasing rate of text adoption in recent years is fueled by our children altering how we stay in touch with them."

Through Sprint's Ready Now program, Sprint customers can choose how much or how little they want to learn about any of the features and applications on their phone. Customers also have a choice of sitting down with a Sprint retail associate while in the store, or they can make an appointment for a later time. For additional customer convenience, Sprint customers have the flexibility to schedule appointments either in the store, or online via Sprint's store locator tool. Customers can visit www.sprint.com/readynow to schedule an appointment and find the closest participating store.


This data is the result of a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 2,010 adults, comprising 1,003 men and 1,007 women, 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Also included was an oversample of 150 18- to 29-year-olds. Interviewing for this CARAVAN(R) Survey was completed during the periods of Oct. 2-6 and Oct. 9-13.


Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving nearly 52 million customers at the end of the second quarter 2008; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.


Opinion Research Corporation, an infoGroup company, has offered innovative solutions to the toughest market research challenges of clients worldwide since 1938. Since the 1960s, ORC has conducted CARAVAN(R), the USA's longest continuously running consumer omnibus. In addition, the firm has been conducting national, speech reaction, state and flash/overnight polls for CNN since April 2006. To learn more, visit www.opinionresearch.com.

SOURCE: Sprint

Melinda Tiemeyer, 913-794-1089

Login to Submit a Comment

Overlay Title

You must be logged in to view this item.


This area is reserved for members of the news media. If you qualify, please update your user profile and check the box marked "Check here to register as an accredited member of the news media". Please include any notes in the "Supporting information for media credentials" box. We will notify you of your status via e-mail in one business day.