Two Sides: Consumers Trust Print on Paper more than Digital Media

A recent Toluna survey was commissioned by Two Sides to investigate user preferences, attitudes, and trust in print and paper in a digital world. Overall, findings supported users concern in digital storage of information citing security and privacy.

Activity Tested: How international consumers view, prefer, and trust paper and print, from reading for leisure, gaining information to news, or marketing collateral.

This report explores:

  • Consumer reading and preferences and reading frequency for different forms of communication channels.
  • Consumer trust and understanding in news media channels.
  • Consumer attitudes towards advertising and marketing communication channels.
  • Consumer attitudes towards the drive to all digital-based communications.

Sample Population: 10,762 adults from the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa: 49% males, 51% females.

The majority of respondents were 55+ (32%), 18-24 (12%), 25-34 (19%), 35-44 (19%), and 45-54 (18%).

Key Findings: 

Many consumers prefer and enjoy reading in print. 
Consumers prefer to read the printed version of books (72%), magazines (72%), and newspapers/news (55%) over digital options. Many participants recorded that they enjoy reading print more than electronic devices. Communications from banks, energy, utility, and telecommunications providers see an average preference for print at 33%.

Consumers trust print and gain a deeper understanding when reading print. 
More consumers believe they gain a deeper understanding of the story when read from print media (65%) over online news sources (49%) Consumers also trust the stories read in printed newspapers (51%) more than stories found on social media (24%). The majority of consumers (76%) indicated they are concerned about the trend of “fake news.”

Reading habits vary depending on content. 
When questioning reading habits in print or digital, many respondents indicated that the amount of time spent reading a book (45%), magazine (63%) or newspaper (61%) is less now than in the past. When consumers are reading magazines or books, they tend to read the printed versions more regularly (48% magazines, 54% books). When consuming news media, 76% read news on a digital device regularly and 50% plan to read more news online in the future.

There is concern about the impacts of digital consumption on health. 
52% agreed that they spend too much time on electronic devices and 53% are concerned the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health (eye strain, sleep deprivation, headaches). A further 33% agree they are suffering from “digital overload”.

Consumers respond to print marketing and advertising messaging. 
Advertising and marketing communication preferences were also examined with the results indicating that 52% prefer to read product catalogs in print and on average, 45% of consumers agree that they like receiving personally-addressed advertising mail and printed leaflets delivered to their home, with 46% paying attention to them. The tendency to consume information from printed leaflets, unaddressed mail as well as direct advertising mail is higher (56%) than marketing emails (49%). The results indicate 46% would be more likely to take an action after seeing an advertisement in a printed newspaper or magazine than they would if they saw the same ad online.

Online marketing and advertising is relatively unpopular with most consumers. 
The results reveal that many consumers do not pay attention (68%) to online advertisements and 57% do their best to avoid them. A majority (60%) agreed they can’t remember the last time they willingly clicked an online advertisement.

Consumers believe that they should have the right to choose how they receive communications. 
Findings indicate that 89% of consumers believe that they should have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronically), at no extra charge, from financial organizations and service providers.

Print provides more privacy and security. 
71% of consumers have privacy concerns with personal information being held electronically, with 73% believing that keeping hard copies at home is a safe and more secure way of storing information.