Do Consumers Still Prefer Paper?

Nobody can escape the fact that the digital world is well and truly upon us with millions of us now regularly using the likes of Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks for personal and business use.

Most of us own at least one type of electronic device be it a laptop, smart phone, tablet or similar where we are able to receive updates, be added to electronic mailing lists and stay in contact with ‘friends’. We are able to receive breaking news headlines instantly and we can shop until we ‘virtually’ drop at the click of a button.

There is no doubt that digital communication can sometimes be more practical, faster and cheaper but that doesn’t mean it is always as effective. On the contrary, there is a lot of research out there suggesting that many of us still prefer to read a newspaper or book and are more likely to notice and be influenced by a paper advert than an electronic one. And as many of us will agree nothing can replace the exciting feeling of visiting a shop and making a purchase as opposed to seeing it online and waiting for it to arrive.

Interesting research documented by The Two Sides Campaign, 2012 showed that in the 18-24 year old age group, the so called Digital Natives, lead consumers in appreciating paper based media:

  • 83% of 18-24 year olds, (80% of all consumers), believe that reading from paper is nicer than reading off a screen.
  • 78% of 18–24 year olds, (74% of all consumers), say that compared to other media, print and paper is more pleasant to handle and touch.

And to those who continue to debate the environmental impact of print, Two Sides also revealed that an online search emits 0.7g of CO2 every search made whereas a business card emits less than 0.12g of CO2 over the card’s entire lifetime.

This is good news for those of us in the Paper and Printing Industry and shows that whilst we can all reap the benefits that the host of digital media outlets offer, they should compliment and not replace traditional paper methods of communication, which are proven to be invaluable not just in business but in our everyday lives.