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The Joy of Text - Brits Spend US$6 Billion Flirting by SMS

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When it comes to relationships, Brits are all fingers and thumbs, according to the price comparison and switching website, uSwitch. A new poll of 2,000 adults reveals that 235 million flirtatious text messages are sent every month, at a cost of £231 million (USD460 million). In other words, we are spending nearly £3 billion (USD6 billion) a year 'flexting' (texting so extensively and in such a manner that it is flirting).

The new research shows the essential role that mobiles now play when it comes to matters of the heart. While the average Brit sends 10 'flirty'. texts every month, nearly half a million 'romantics' out there are sending more than 100 a month - at a cost of nearly £100 a year.


It seems consumers need to be 'smooth texters' these days instead of 'smooth talkers' in order to woo the object of their affections. 4 out of 10 adults are more likely to send a message than to pick up the phone and call to arrange a first date, which takes an average of 6 text messages to secure. This means people spend £8.7 million clinching the deal even before they fork out on dinner, cinema tickets, drinks and any of the other first date expenses.

Dating Dilemmas

The increased role texting plays in British love lives has given rise to a whole new modern dating etiquette:

1. How long should I wait before replying to a text?

When it comes to playing the waiting game, it's the men that give in first. The research uncovers that men will text back their crush within the hour (57 minutes). Women, however, leave their dates hanging 22 minutes longer, taking an average of 1 hour 19 minutes to reply. Don.t leave it any longer than 2 hours 36 minutes though - this is officially the point when 'playing it cool' becomes 'plain rude'.

2. Smiley Faces?

It seems that the nation is divided on smiley face icons. Nearly half think that getting text messages with smiley faces and kisses is actually 'quite cute'. However, there are still 5.5 million mobile users in Britain who see this as .a big turn off.

3. When can I text you again?

Once again it is the women who leave men hanging after the first date, waiting an average of up to 2 hours 45 minutes compared to 1 hour 51 minutes to text their crush afterwards. Those that are tempted to send a text as soon as they leave should exercise self-control. One in twenty people admit that if they received a text from their date as soon as they parted ways they would have to say 'Goodbye' as it shows that they are 'way too keen'.

4. U R Dumped

Not only do text messages help us to woo, arrange dates and 'flex'., they can also play a helping hand in ending a relationship. uSwitch's survey reveals that nearly 6 million people in Britain have been dumped by text.

Further 'Flexting' Findings

  1. Men send 5 texts on average to arrange a date compared to the 6 sent by women
  2. 12 million Brits feel that texting "adds a whole new dilemma" to the dating game
  3. 1 in 5 people would "never accept a date from someone who doesn't call"
  4. A quarter of men feel that texting has actually made the dating game harder
  5. 3 million Brits send "saucy" picture messages via SMS to their partners
  6. It takes 1 minute 12 seconds to compose the average flirty text - equating to 12 minutes a month or 2 hours 24 minutes a year.
  7. Nearly 1 in 4 never let their partners read their sent and received text messages saying "some things are just too personal"

Steve Weller, Head of Communications Services at uSwitch.com, comments: "Such is the joy of text that we are now dependent on our phones for every aspect of our lives, even our love lives. We all know that text messaging is popular, but we never knew so much flirting is going on. With 235 million texts flying about each month it seems texts are the new arrows to Cupid's bow.

"If you.re a big flexter then you should make sure you.re on the right tariff, and select a service that has the right amount of texts for you. By shopping around you could save up to £113 a year giving you more than enough to cover the cost of that first date."

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Tags: text messaging  text messages  cinema  texting  UK