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Print and Paper Packs a Punch in a Digital World

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The results of an international survey released Tuesday (October 3) by Two Sides (Chicago, Ill., USA) provides unique insight into how print and paper is viewed, preferred, and trusted by consumers around the globe.

In June 2017, a survey of over 10,700 consumers was commissioned by Two Sides and carried out by the research company Toluna. Nationally representative surveys were undertaken in ten countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.

The results reveal a strong preference for print when it comes to recreational reading e.g. books, magazines, news, etc. 72% of global respondents prefer printed books, compared to only 9% preferring e-books. Significant country differences were also identified: in Germany, 75% of consumers prefer a printed newspaper, but in Spain, only 42%. Not only is there a global preference for print, there is also greater trust in print. 76% of all respondents believe "fake news" is a worrying trend and only 24% trust the news stories they read on social media. In addition, 63% of all respondents believe reading news in a printed newspaper provides a deep understanding of the story.

The survey also revealed consumers have a negative perception of online advertising. 68% of global respondents say they don’t pay attention to online ads and 62% find them annoying and usually not relevant. 57% of global respondents even do their best to block or avoid online ads.

Despite the shift towards receiving digital communications, 89% of consumers believe they should have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronically) from financial organizations and service providers, with a further 77% agreeing they should not be charged more for choosing paper bills and statements.

Common claims assisting the relatively aimless drive to digitalization of everything, such as "Go Green – Go Paperless" and "Save Trees", are creating consumer suspicion as 62% of global respondents believe the switch to digital is because the sender wants to save money, not because it is "better for the environment".

Concerns about security and privacy were also evident. 71% are concerned their personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged, and 73% keep paper copies of important documents at home for safety and security.

Overall, findings conclude that consumers trust, enjoy and gain a deeper understanding of information read in print, with signs of digital fatigue and concern for electronic information security and privacy evident.
 

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