How Your Audience Really Feels about Print & Paper

In June 2017, a survey of 2,131 US consumers was commissioned by Two Sides and carried out by leading research company Toluna. The survey provides unique insight into how print and paper is viewed, preferred and trusted by consumers in today’s digital world.

Let’s look at some of the findings, as published by Two Sides.

First off all, the survey found that when it comes to leisure time reading, print is the top choice in magazines (66%), books (62%) and even news content (61%). Seventy-three percent of the respondents say that reading a printed book is more enjoyable – even if they use e-readers in certain situations.

While print is preferred for leisure, another key finding is that consumers want choice when it comes to receiving important financial and personal information.

“The survey found that 90% of US consumers believe they should have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronically) from financial organizations and service providers, including 88% of 18-24-year-olds. 83% say they should not be charged more for choosing a paper bill or statement,” the report explains.

Image source: TwoSidesNAThis choice is critical, especially in light of this fact:

“76% of consumers are increasingly concerned that their personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged and 79% keep hard copies of important documents filed at home, as they believe this is the safest and most secure way of storing their information.”

This blows a big hole into the movement to “go paperless,” as many consumers realize they’ll print out this information anyway. As we say around here, the office isn’t paperless for a reason.

Image source: TwoSidesNA

The respondents also reported they are increasingly concerned about the health implications of too much digital media, understand what reading in print does for them, and really do not like digital advertising (no big surprise there, given the massive uptick in ad blocking technology).

For brands, the bottom line is to really understand your audience. They are increasingly savvy about the motivations behind business decisions – 72% say they totally get that companies want us to switch to paperless billing not to save the environment, but to save themselves a few bucks.

Give them choices, respect their preferences, and skip the greenwashing. It just doesn’t ring true.