The use of instant messaging applications is set to double in the UK in 2014, according to new research claiming some tap-happy users are sending up to 100,000 messages a year.

The study from Deloitte claims Brits could send a total of 300 billion messages by the time Christmas is over, up from the 160 billion sent across the nation in 2013.

And, according to the experts, the surge comes as users are increasingly relying on 'free' services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and iMessage to further their romantic interests.

"A constant among humans is courting and they use different tools to do it. It used to be hanging on the phone, now it's instant messaging," said Deloitte technology, media and telecoms research chief Paul Lee.

Texting in decline

The volume of IMs, which often include messages consisting only of emoji, being sent now far outweighs traditional text (SMS) messaging in the UK.

Deloitte reckons British smartphone users send 7 text messages a day, while racking up 46 instant messages via web-connected services.

This year texting is forecast to fall for the first time since its invention in 1992, dropping from 145bn in 2013 to 140bn this year.

Do you find yourself doing most of your flirting via instant messaging? Or do you keep it retro with the text? Share your methods in the comments section below.

Via Guardian