Social interaction, rather than function, is the force behind young adults' burgeoning use of text messaging, claims a new study conducted by the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Canada.
Currently, more than one trillion text messages are estimated to be sent each year by users across the globe, with more market growth of wireless communications expected in the future, the study found.
According to researcher Nick Bontis, associate professor of strategic management at the school, young adults aged between 19 and 25 comprise roughly three-quarters of the mobile text messaging market.
Under the right pricing model and marketing strategy, young adults could perceive text messaging as a fun means of instant social interaction at a perceived economical cost, the study found. Bontis explained that text messages priced at a maximum of $US0.25 per message can be considered inexpensive.
"Young adults care about social or fun [aspects]," he said. "Business people care about value or price."
One potentially successful marketing idea is to introduce product placements in virtual worlds, Bontis suggested, mentioning as an example the v-girl.com mobile game, which advertises in-world by clothing its virtual girls in particular brands, or depict them using certain products.
Bontis also mentioned Virgin Mobile as an example of a company with a marketing strategy that successfully targets young adults. "Virgin Mobile," he said, "is all about young, flexible and being hip."
Of the young adults surveyed for the study, almost half had used text messaging. These text-messaging users were found to send an average of 50 messages and spend approximately $US46 on mobile phone services per month.
"As the market continues to develop, telecommunication companies would be smart to focus on the fun of using text messaging and the low price of the medium as they build their marketing growth plans," Bontis said.