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Portia Lightfoot
Content Marketing Writer @ Yotpo
November 4th, 2022

UK Brands Are Discovering the Value of SMS

As SMS is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, marketers are discovering how this powerful channel can benefit both their brand and their customers.

Table Of Contents

SMS isn’t new — according to The Week, the first text message was sent through a mobile device back in 1997. Fast forward to 25 years later, text messaging has grown into our main form of communication, changing how we speak and behave, and now, how we engage with our favourite brands.

Consumers today check their smartphones 150 times (or up to 4 hours) a day on average, and they are shopping there too — data from Shopify shows that 71% of sales during last year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday events were made from mobile devices. This increase in mobile usage has paved the way for SMS to become one of the highest revenue-driving channels, yet many brands in the UK have been wary of intruding on this personal space we share with friends and family. Yotpo’s latest survey proves that these concerns are no longer warranted. Our data shows that British customers appear to have a growing fondness for the channel, and marketers are leveraging it to engage them and successfully grow their businesses.

We asked them both (1,000 consumers and 200 marketers across five age groups in the UK) what they think of SMS as a channel, and the feedback was largely positive. Here are the biggest takeaways from what we uncovered.

UK brands and consumers are frequently communicating via SMS

While 60% of marketers still recognised that some customers might find SMS intrusive, 90% of consumers reported receiving text messages from brands, with 46% saying that the number of messages they receive has increased in the last two years. Moreover, 37% affirmed that receiving SMS messages from brands makes them more likely to purchase from that brand again.

Many UK brands are already capitalising on this consumer interest, expanding the ways in which they communicate with their customers and investing more in SMS marketing. Approximately 74% of marketers believe that SMS is a strong channel for building loyalty, while 58% said they frequently communicate with customers via SMS. In fact, they consider SMS to be the third best channel for engaging with consumers (34%) after email (55%) and social posts (41%), and 53% believe their brand’s use of SMS marketing will increase in the next two to five years.

Every generation finds SMS useful, especially Gen Z

This positive view of SMS permeated all age groups surveyed, with consumers across all generations more willing to use SMS today — almost half of consumers (48%) now find SMS to be one of the most useful channels for receiving information from brands, while 50% agreed that promotional SMS messages are useful and 41% said they respond well to these promotional texts. Four out of ten consumers (38%) and almost half (49%) of Gen Z are reportedly engaging more with SMS than they were two years ago.

Similarly, over a third of consumers aged 25 to 53 said they actively engage with SMS messages they receive from brands, with Gen Z (43%) being the most engaged. It’s no surprise that Gen Z is more inclined to adopt this new marketing channel — texting is second nature for these tech-savvy shoppers, who were raised on mobile devices like cell phones and laptops. But they only slightly edged out feedback from baby boomers, 42% of whom also claimed to engage with SMS marketing messages. UK brands that use SMS will therefore be more equipped to engage all generations more effectively, while also tapping into the tremendous buying power that younger consumers hold.

SMS offers more ways to engage

While UK consumers are warming up and seem more receptive to SMS than in previous years, it’s important to recognise that they may still have different preferences for communicating and shopping. When asked about these preferences, respondents ranked email (85%), social media (51%), and SMS (48%) as their three most useful channels overall. These channels are all highly effective revenue-drivers in their own right, each with their own unique value.

SMS, for example, offers unmatched speed and instant gratification, allowing marketers to engage customers with the right message at precisely the right moment — it’s perfect for timely calls to action and inspiring a sense of urgency. On the other hand, email gives marketers more freedom to promote longer or more visual information that customers can consume at their own pace. By making SMS a part of your broader marketing strategy, you can offer customers more ways to engage with your brand and encourage them to do so in the way they prefer, giving them a truly personalised experience.

Personalisation of any marketing channel, but especially one as personal as SMS, is critical to maximising customer engagement. Fortunately, 80% of marketers surveyed said their customers are likely to share their interests with them and 70% said their customers are likely to share their mobile number for marketing purposes, allowing brands the opportunity to target them with relevant content and push this trend of consumers responding positively to SMS continually forward.

UK brands are already boosting engagement with SMS

Popular UK brand Tropic Skincare has already combined SMS with their email marketing strategy, and is seeing massive success by amplifying their messages across channels and creating genuine connections that keep their customers coming back for more. In just nine months with SMS, the brand generated 37,000 new SMS subscribers and an impressive 41x ROI.

“SMS is fairly new in the UK, and we needed to make sure it would work for our audience,” says Abi Rousell, Senior Email Marketing Executive at Tropic Skincare. “Yotpo SMSBump’s dedicated support and expertise gave us the confidence we needed to test this new channel and see great results. We said, ‘Let’s just give it a try. If it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, we tried.’ And it absolutely has worked. From now on, we will be channelling even more time and focus into SMS to reap the rewards.”

SMS is a powerful tool for driving revenue and retention

As the world grows digitally and technology continues to evolve, eCommerce is evolving alongside it, with communication and shopping both going mobile. The feedback we received from both consumers and marketers alike shows that UK brands that leverage SMS to engage customers with personalised, relevant content are the ones that will ultimately succeed at driving revenue and retention in this mobile-first world.

Talia Shani, UK Director of Marketing at Yotpo, believes in the power of SMS marketing, and we want you to be a believer too. “The brands that embrace SMS marketing, with relevant content that reflects the interests and preferences of each consumer, will reap the rewards,” she says. “Failing to capitalise on this opportunity will see brands miss out at a time when it’s never been more crucial to find new ways to engage with shoppers.”

That opportunity is here. For brands that do it right, SMS marketing will be a powerful tool to build meaningful relationships with customers that pay off, increasing engagement and maximising revenue growth. Yotpo SMSBump powers these revenue-driving experiences in the UK and worldwide. Request a demo to learn how we can support you on your SMS journey.

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