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Say it with a smiley: More prefer to express feelings via emojis instead of phone calls, study finds

SINGAPORE — More than just a fun way to tell your friends what you’re having for lunch, emojis have become a “cultural phenomenon” that is shaping the way we express ideas and emotions across languages and generations, software firm Adobe said.

Say it with a smiley: More prefer to express feelings via emojis instead of phone calls, study finds

The first Emoji Trend Report by Adobe found that 90 per cent of respondents said they used emojis to lighten the mood of the conversation and show support to people.

SINGAPORE — More than just a fun way to tell your friends what you’re having for lunch, emojis have become a “cultural phenomenon” that is shaping the way we express ideas and emotions across languages and generations, software firm Adobe said. 

In its first Emoji Trend Report, the company said that a majority of respondents it surveyed felt more comfortable expressing their feelings via an emoji than through a phone call. A majority also think that emojis can improve workplace communication.

Adobe surveyed 1,000 frequent emoji users aged 16 to 73 across the United States in May for the report.

MOST POPULAR EMOJIS

More than 90 per cent of respondents said that they used emojis to lighten the mood of the conversation and show support to people, with more than three-fifths saying they did so to inject some fun into their conversations.

The survey found that the top emoji among users was the face with tears of joy, which is typically used to express laughter.

The next top emoji was the "red heart" emoji, which is used to convey love, followed by the emoji of a face throwing a kiss, which is meant to represent a goodbye or good-night kiss, or to convey feelings of love and affection.

EASIER THAN A PHONE CALL

The survey also found that 65 per cent of emoji users are more comfortable expressing emotions through emojis, rather than through phone conversations. 

This was especially the case among the young:

  • 83 per cent of Generation Z respondents — those born between 1995 and 2015 — preferred emojis to phone calls. 

  • 71 per cent of millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 — felt the same.

  • 61 per cent of Generation X respondents, born between 1965 and 1980, agreed.

  • 53 per cent of baby boomers, those born between 1944 and 1964, also preferred emojis to phone calls.

The study found that 81 per cent of emoji users believe that people who use emojis are friendlier and more approachable. 

When asked about emojis’ greatest benefits, a majority of the users — 94 per cent — highlighted the ability to communicate across language barriers, while 90 per cent liked that emojis allowed them to instantly share their thoughts and ideas.  

FRIENDS VS PARTNERS

While the survey found that 83 per cent of users were likely to send an emoji to a friend, only 55 per cent did so with their significant other or partner.

The study showed that 35 per cent of users used emojis with their children although this was disproportionately skewed towards mothers. While 43 per cent of females said that they used emojis with their children, only 28 per cent of males did so.

EMOJIS AT WORK

An increasing number of people were using emojis for professional communication, with 61 per cent of users exchanging emojis at work. 

  • 36 per cent of them exchanged emojis with fellow employees at their level. 

  • 24 per cent of men said that they used emojis with their co-workers, compared with 14 per cent of women.

  • 78 per cent of respondents said that they used emojis at work to make themselves more likeable. 

  • 74 per cent felt that emojis helped them convey positive news or feedback more sincerely.

MORE EMOJIS WANTED

A majority of the respondents — 76 per cent — wished that there were more emojis available, particularly those of food, drinks and snacks. For instance, some respondents wanted emojis of more diverse cuisine.

Close to 80 per cent of users wanted more inclusive and representative emojis, with 73 per cent wishing they could customise their emojis to better reflect their personal appearance and identity. 

For instance, half of the users said that they would prefer hairstyles or hair colour options to reflect their personal appearance, the study reported.

Related topics

emoji Technology workplace

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