Messaging Pipeline | IM More Popular Than Ever
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November 10, 2005

IM More Popular Than Ever

The third annual AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey finds IM usage grew by nearly 20 percent in 2005.

Messaging Pipeline

E-mail is old school, according to findings from AOL's third annual Instant Messaging Trends Survey, which found that IM usage is up 19 percent year over year and that 38 percent of the respondents claim to send as many or more IMs than e-mails.

The survey, conducted in September by Opinion Research Corp. on behalf of AOL, collected the views of 4,032 respondents (Internet users aged 13 years and older) in the top 20 markets around the country.

The teen and young adult (ages 13-21) market continues to lead in IM usage, with 66 percent indicating that they send more IMs than e-mails, up from 49 percent last year. This is causing parents to take a harder look at their teens' IM activity. Fifty-three percent of teens (13-17) say their parents now issue rules about IM and 65 percent of those that have rules say they actually follow them.

Mobile IM is also catching on with 33 percent of IM users saying they also send messages from their cell phones at least once a week. This is up from just 19 percent last year.

In the workplace, 58 percent of IM users send messages to communicate with colleagues; 49 percent use IM to get answers and make business decisions; 28 percent to reach out to customers or clients; and 12 percent say they have used IM to avoid a difficult in-person conversation. In addition, 25 percent of at-work IM users say that instant messaging enables them to check in on their children during the workday, providing greater peace of mind.

On the wish list, 26 percent of IM users say they want live streaming television on their IM service. Twenty-five percent wished for music on demand and 21 percent wanted video on demand. Meanwhile, 20 percent said they currently enjoy, or would like to try, making live voice calls to other computers, landlines and cell phones directly from their IM service. Another 12 percent said they would be interested in an IM-based VoIP service that could replace their primary household phone line.

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