In many countries Christmas Eve is usually the first or second biggest day in the calendar for sending a text message, though in some regions this honor falls to New Year. However, this traditionally busiest time of year has for the first time seen a decline in the number of text messages being sent in some countries. According to Tero Kuittinen, a senior analyst at M.G.I. Research, the recent holiday period saw a decline in the numbers of texts being send in several counties. In particular, there seems to have been a steep drop in the number of texts sent on Christmas Eve.
According to Kuittinen, in Finland one of the country’s largest network operators saw SMS messages fall to 8.5 million on Christmas Eve 2011, down from 10.9 million on Christmas Eve of 2010. Likewise both Australia (down 9%) and Hong Kong (down 14%) saw a decline in the number of SMS messages sent over the Christmas and New Year period. In Sweden, The Local (the Swedish English -speaking press) wrote that sending a text message to express Christmas or New Year’s greeting is passé here. Those in the know instead use a social network to pass on their holiday greetings.
In his blog, Kuittinen attributes the fading allure of text messaging to the increased popularity of social networks and BBM/iM, which allow smartphone users to send messages for "free".
However, the decline in text messages has hit every country, and even Kuittinen thinks that it will be a while before the American market sees and erosion in its use of SMS –odd when you consider the popularity of social networks here. Certainly at the moment evidence from Pew Research Center (in its Global Attitudes Project study published in December 2011) found that around 75% of the mobile phone users it surveyed in 21 different countries replied that they still send text messages.
Perhaps there is another reason for the decline in Christmas and New Year texts this year. I certainly noticed that fewer and fewer people are sending any type of Christmas and New Year greeting, be it by post, email or text. There just seems to be a general decline in sending out holiday greetings nowadays, perhaps we have grown weary of this annual obligation and have decided to abandon it altogether.