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Print or Digital, what others think

ad for paper designAs I get older I start to miss somethings that I took for granted a long time ago. Like getting the latest magazine as soon as it came out. Sometimes it was even  an event that warranted a cup of coffee and a quiet space for the next hour or two. Now though I get so much info fed to me through various web sites and apps that I don’t think I have sat somewhere in years and just read a magazine, digital or otherwise.

That’s what drew me to this survey in the first place. The poll questioned people about their perceptions between digital and print. The survey was commissioned by a company with a stake in printing, so I’m not sure if the survey was slanted their way. However, if you’re like me you’ll probably find the data interesting.

The following is a direct copy/paste from their pdf. You can find it here(I did the graphs myself though)

A survey of 2,094 U.S. consumers was commissioned by Two Sides and carried out by independent research company Toluna in February 2019. This report explores consumer opinions and beliefs about print and paper’s environmental impact; preferences related to reading in print versus digitally; and receiving paper or electronic communications from their service providers.

Environmental Perceptions

  • Graph of percentage of people who think forests are decreasing58% of consumers surveyed believe U.S. forests have been decreasing in size since the year 2000. In fact, U.S. forests had a net growth of over 1,500 NFL football fields per day since 2000. Results by age group are shown in the graph to the right.
  • Only 15% of consumers think the paper recovery rate in the U.S. exceeds 60% (it is over 68%!).
  • Out of 8 common materials and products, wood is considered the most environmentally friendly material, followed by paper and glass.
  • Out of 8 common materials and products, electronic devices ranked as the least environmentally-friendly, followed by plastic.

Reading Preferences (Print vs. Digital)

  • 68% of consumers believe print is the most enjoyable way to read books.
  • 65% find printed magazines most enjoyable and 53% prefer printed newspapers. Age group differences for reading preferences are shown in the graph to the right.
  • 53% are concerned the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health.
  • 49% believe they spend too much time on electronic devices.

Receiving paper bills and statements

  • 86% of American consumers believe they should have the right to choose how they receive communications. Age group differences are shown in the graph to the right.
  • 85% believe they should have the right to revert to paper options after choosing digital.
  • 74% believe they should not be charged for paper bills and statements.

I have cherry-picked the information that I found to be the most interesting and there is quite a lot more to read about. I originally found the article at the Graphic Arts web site, and to be honest they wrote a complete article, I just barely touched the surface.

Busting the Myths: A study of U.S. consumer perceptions and attitudes towards print and paper


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