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July 07, 2020



Pictorial language is as alive now as it was in Tutankhamun’s time!

According to a nationwide survey we conducted recently, we use emojis to propose, take sick days and break up relationships

First carved in ancient Egypt as far back as 3200 BC, hieroglyphics were used for 3,500 years. The first set of emojis were released less than 25 years ago, in 1997 and are now the fastest growing form of communication with nearly a billion being sent worldwide every day. The UK contribution is 33 emojis per person per day.

According to the nationwide survey we conducted recently, emojis are now so ubiquitous that we use them to convey some of our deepest emotions and most serious situations. In fact, the research suggests we’re growing more comfortable conveying emotion through emojis than we are through the written word.

  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of the nation said that they find it easier to send an emoji than describe how they feel in words.
  • More than one in 20 modern Brits (6%) has proposed to a partner by emoji, and – at the other end of the spectrum – 8% has dumped someone using only emojis.
  • While 15% have used them to explain why they are in hospital, and one in 10 (9% has let their work know they are ill with the help of the small graphics.
  • The study found that 27% of British adults have used emojis to argue with someone, while 18% have used them to ask someone on a date.

Emojis seem to allow us to express feelings that we wouldn’t usually discuss as well. Almost four in 10 (37%) of us say we find it hard to talk about our emotions, 40% can’t talk to friends about serious matters, and 42% of us can’t even tell our own mums how we’re feeling.

The study also uncovered our favourite emojis, with the face with tears of joy (38%) coming top, followed by the thumbs up (35%) and smiling face with smiling eyes (33%) emojis.

However, some emojis are now deeply unfashionable. According to the study, using thumbs up (11%), the check Mark (9%) and OK hand (7%) all indicate that you are old and over the hill.

And they can cause confusion, with 24% admitting that they have used an emoji without realising it had a secondary vulgar meaning – the classic example being the aubergine, which is commonly used to signify male genitals.

Unsurprisingly, the data found that 16 to 29-year olds use more emojis (43) every day compared to the over 60s (7).  And, interestingly, women are keener on emojis than men, with 95% using them, compared to 87% of men.

Regionally, Nottingham is the emoji capital of the UK where residents of the East Midlands city each use 42 a day – more than twice as many as Plymouth, the city at the bottom of the list with only 21 sent a day per person.

And finally, the study also found that 30% of the British adults polled believe that the English language might one day evolve into a pictorial language because of the popularity of emojis!

Britain’s most popular emojis

  1. Face With Tears of Joy 😂          38%
  2.  Thumbs Up👍  35%
  3.  Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes 😊         33%
  4.  Kiss wink 😘     32%
  5.  Smiling face with hearts for eyes 😍      31%
  6.  Red Heart ❤️    30%
  7.  Diagonal laughing face 🤣         25%
  8.  Loudly Crying Face 😭   22%
  9.  Thinking Face🤔           20%
  10.  OK hand 👌      20%
  11.  Monkey eye cover 🙈   17%
  12.  Facepalm 🤦‍♀‍    15%
  13.  Grimacing Face😬         14%
  14.  Clapping Hands👏        13%
  15.  Smile hands out 🤗       13%
  16.  Kiss Mark💋     13%
  17.  Monkey mouth cover 🙊           12%
  18.  Party Popper 🎉           11%
  19.  Face Screaming in Fear😱         11%
  20.  Eyes closed mouth open 😫      11%
  21.  Poo💩  11%
  22.  Person Shrugging🤷      10%
  23.  Eyes👀 10%
  24.  Folded Hands 🙏          10%
  25.  Zany Face 🤪    10%
  26.  Hands raised 🙌           9%
  27.  Flexed Biceps💪           9%
  28.  Fire 🔥 8%
  29.  Anxious Face With Sweat😰      7%
  30.  Angry Face With Horns👿         7%
  31.  Woman Dancing💃       6%
  32.  Hundred Points💯        6%
  33.  Eggplant 🍆      5%
  34.  Check Mark✔️  4%