Text messaging turns 20

The first SMS was sent as a Christmas greeting in December 1992, the Guardian notes. Adoption took a while, and was not terribly widely used in all markets. In fact, text messaging began to get serous traction around the year 2000. So it was eight years before lots of people started to use the new too.. 

That's worth keeping in mind: even the most-useful consumer innovations can take some time to become widespread.

As a rule of thumb, an innovation that becomes widely used starts to grow much faster once it reaches about 10 percent penetration. But how long it takes to reach 10 percent can vary widely. 

Looking only at AT&T, you can see that text messaging volumes did not actually begin to build until after 2007, for example, despite having been available for more than a decade prior. 

And even in the United Kingdom, where consumers adopted the text messaging habit earlier, you can see that dramatic growth happened sometime around 2000. 

Roughly the same trend can be noted for global usage. Growth accelerated only around 2000. 


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