Among the nation’s 134 million adult cell phone users, people between the ages of 18 to 27 are the widest users of text messaging, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The study was based on a nationwide phone survey of 1,460 cell phone users between January 13 and February 9.
A full 63 percent of cell phone users in the Generation Y demographic use SMS (define) compared to 31 percent of Generation X (ages 28 to 39) mobile phone users. In the Baby Boom generation, 18 percent of cell phone owners between the ages of 40 and 49 are text messaging users, compared to 13 percent of the older half of that group (ages 50 to 58). Only seven percent of cell phone users over 60 use SMS.
“Cell phones are extremely popular with young people. They are as crazy about the text feature on their phones as they are about the voice feature,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. “Young people are using these devices to carry on perpetual conversations.”
Pew also found of the 34 million people using SMS, 28 percent have received unsolicited commercial text messages on their phones. The study didn’t inquire about the type of such messages.
“Whereas with spim, or instant messaging spam, the variety of messages includes everything that you see in spam, I’m not sure about the content of these unsolicited messages,” Rainie said. “But there has been a lot of buzz in the marketing world about the potential to get commercial messages into this technology.”
Cell phone “texters” tend to be tech-oriented. About 58 percent have home broadband connections, and 73 percent have been online a minimum of six years. Nine percent of cell phone texters say they aren’t Web users.