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Cellphones Are a Lifeline for Many Americans

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We check emails, get updates on our news feeds, chat with friends and family and stream videos and TV shows on our phones, among a gazillion other things. So it’s no surprise that Americans relied even more on cellphones during the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent survey from Boston-based Klaviyo, an e-commerce customer data and marketing automation platform, finds that 59% of Americans couldn’t live without their phones during the pandemic. In fact, 38% say their phone is the most important thing they own, while 59% say it keeps them from feeling lonely and isolated.

Texting is preferred communication mode across generations

More than half (51%) of Americans have texted more in the past 12 months. This compares to 42% of Americans who have made more phone calls, 42% who have sent more emails, 42% who have used FaceTime or video calling more and 41% who have used social media more.

Across generations, texting is the top messaging platform of choice:

Gen Zers (ages 13 to 24)

  • Texting: 55%
  • Snapchat: 41%
  • Instagram: 27%

Millennials (ages 25 to 40)

  • Texting: 64%
  • Snapchat: 41%
  • Instagram: 39%

Gen Xers (ages 41 to 56)

  • Texting: 70%
  • Snapchat: 48%
  • Instagram: 47%

Baby boomers (ages 57 to 76)

  • Texting: 69%
  • Snapchat: 60%
  • Instagram: 49%

As a smaller percentage of Gen Zers find texting to be the most important mode of communication on their phone, they have the most unread texts (96, on average), followed by millennials (51), Gen Xers (21) and baby boomers (6).

Texting taking over the workplace

While texting is the preferred mode of communication in respondents’ personal lives, it also plays a role in workplaces. Among those texting more, the survey finds more than a third (36%) say they’re also using their personal phones to text co-workers and bosses.

Compared to a year ago, working Americans are more likely to text their co-workers (43%), managers (41%) and clients (34%). Among those texting their co-workers more, millennials are leading the way at 48%, followed by Gen Xers (41%), baby boomers (35%) and Gen Zers (31%).

Interestingly enough, nearly half (48%) of those who are more likely to text workers say it’s because people are more responsive to texts, while 44% say it’s the easiest way to garner their attention. However, 41% say it’s a more private channel to chat with colleagues than workplace communication platforms.

Texts from bosses don’t typically add cheer to American workers’ days. Only 8% say they’re likely to feel happiness when they see a text from their boss. Respondents say they’re more inclined to experience anxiousness when they receive a message from their manager (23%), followed by teachers (14%) and co-workers (10%).

Americans more likely to ignore texts from friends and family than brands

Among Klaviyo survey respondents who had unread texts, 56% were from friends and family, while only 44% were from brands. When asked if they prefer brand messages via email or text from a brand, 63% say they prefer to be emailed, while 37% say they want to be texted.

Millennials prefer texts from brands the most (45%), followed by Gen Zers (43%), Gen Xers (38%) and baby boomers (31%). Millennials are also more likely to be open to receiving calls (22%) and messages via social media (28%) from brands, while baby boomers are the least inclined to receive either (14% and 6%, respectively).

As messages from brands can cause Americans to spend more, those concerned about spending too much on stuff they don’t need should consider unsubscribing to texts and emails from brands and retailers. That way, they won’t be tempted to make unnecessary purchases after getting notices about “too-good-to-miss” promos or sales. (If you have a good relationship with a brand and it’s a meaningful purchase, you could consider using a cashback credit card with good rewards.)

Concerned consumers, though, can opt to receive texts for credit card transactions made in person, online or over the phone, or those that hit a certain threshold. It could help you avoid further credit card debt and improve your credit score.

Methodology: Klaviyo surveyed 2,000 U.S. respondents ages 13 to 76 who own a cellphone, fielded online between July 14-21, 2021.

 

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