Nov. 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM ET
Americans are text messaging less on their cellphones, according to a new report (although you may not find that to be the case with your family at the dinner table or in the car).
Chetan Sharma, a technology and strategy consulting firm, notes that for the first time, there was a drop in both the "total number of messages as well as the total messaging revenue" in the U.S. market, in the third quarter of this year.
Asked for specifics, the firm told NBC News that text messaging dropped from an average of 696 messages per user per month in the second quarter to 678 in the third quarter.
"It might be early to say if the decline has begun or the market segment will sputter along before the decline takes place," the firm said in its report on the "US Mobile Data Market Update Q3 2012."
Chetan Sharma said that once a "market segment reaches the 70 percent to 90 percent penetration mark," such as in the case of text messaging, "a decline begins, and we might be seeing the start of the decline in messaging revenue."
The data, the firm says, "suggests that the messaging revenues in the US market might have peaked."
It may not be that Americans are text messaging less, but are using means other than their cellphones to do so, the firm notes.
Those with iPhones can use iMessage to send free text messages to other iOS users. For many, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become the go-to sites for messaging.
CTIA, the wireless trade industry association, contacted by NBC News, disputes Chetan Sharma's findings. The association points to its recently issued semi-annual survey of wireless providers, done last June, which found that "the number of text messages U.S. wireless users sent/received went up 3 percent in 2012, from 2.206 trillion to 2.273 trillion" over the previous June.
An even bigger increase, 10.6 percent, was seen in the number of multimedia messages (MMS) — those with photos and videos — sent and received. CTIA said 58.3 billion multimedia messages were sent and received in June 2012, compared to 52.7 billion in June 2011.