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Juniper Research: Email Has One Year Left Before Instant Messaging Overtakes It

July 07, 2015

For most workers, a day usually starts with email, checking on all the messages that came in while he or she was away from the office. But that may not be the case much longer, if a report from Juniper Research comes to fruition. The reports suggest that there's about a year left until instant messaging use actually surpasses email use, changing the way a lot of people do business.

The word from Juniper Research—contained in a report titled “Mobile and Online Messaging: SMS, RCS & IM Markets 2015 – 2019”—offers up the numbers on the subject and makes it clear that instant messaging is becoming a larger part of the workday. Mobile and online messaging traffic, which includes email, but also SMS, MMS and instant message traffic, is currently sitting around 94.2 trillion messages sent annually. But by 2019, that number will reach 160 trillion messages. That's roughly 438 billion messages sent every day. While email is the largest part of that number at about 35 trillion messages a year, 80 percent of that figure is spam, or junk email. Before the next 12 months have passed, though, even the 35 trillion emails sent a year will pale against instant messaging's 43 trillion messages sent annually.

Driving these figures is the combination of minimal cost associated with instant messaging services, as well as the rise of several major players in the field from WhatsApp to WeChat to Tencent's QQ, the combined total of which represents over 400 million active users. WhatsApp alone reports over 30 billion messages sent daily through its systems. Throw in the increased use of Facebook and Twitter—sometimes even as a social media marketing arm—and the picture clearly shifts in favor of instant messaging.

Though it's not all gains for instant messaging; some note the application-to-person (A2P) breed of SMS messaging as being both more secure and reliable than its instant messaging counterpart, which is giving A2P an edge. A2P revenues are likely to clear $70 billion by 2019, up from $62.8 billion this year. But with messaging working to do things like order and pay for food and taxi bookings—Snapchat's “Snapcash” service is just one such example—it's clear instant messaging has a lot of potential.

Image via Shutterstock

This poses one big concern to businesses out there, specifically the ability to store the produce of instant messaging sessions. While many such systems come with the ability to save an instant messaging conversation, it sometimes isn't automatically done like email is. With email, the document comes into the user's inbox and remains there until it is moved or deleted. With instant messaging, that's not always the case, so it becomes necessary to develop tools that can provide that kind of accessibility in records.

The numbers, however, tell the story clearly. Instant messaging is likely to overtake email in terms of use soon, and so, businesses need to be prepared for this. The move to instant messaging away from email will require some changes in the way things are done, but with that change may come new value in efficiency and flexibility, making instant messaging a tool to more closely consider.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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