Electronic Media vs. Print: All Generations Prefer Paper
November 2011 -- In a recent European survey, paper proved to be the still favored medium of all age groups -- including young adults -- for reading and safe keeping of documents.
Research specialists IPSOS, in association with industry organizations Two Sides and Print Power, interviewed 4,500 European consumers who declared their preference for paper based media in a digital world.
In brief, the survey shows that in Europe:
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.
- 63% of 18-24 year olds, (58% of all consumers), prefer to keep important documents on paper.
"In an exciting multimedia world, with mobile devices setting the communication agenda, it's perhaps surprising but reassuring that paper based media is still widely trusted and preferred," said Martyn Eustace, director of Two Sides, an organization dedicated to promoting an understanding of print and paper's environmental sustainability. "Publishers of books, newspaper and magazines will be delighted, I'm sure, to know that, for their readers who can now choose to read many different devices, print on paper is still a favorite."
When it comes to the environment:
- 57% of 18-24 year olds, (54% of all consumers), believe that paper records are more sustainable than electronic storage of information.
- 63% of 18-24 year olds, (68% of all consumers), believe that print and paper is based on a renewable resource.
Yet there are signs that consumers require more information about the environmental sustainability of print and paper media:
- 80% of respondents believe that forests in Europe have remained the same or decreased in size over the past 50 years. (According to the UN FAO, forests have actually increased in size by 30%)
- Most consumers believe that about 20-40% of waste paper is collected. (According to the European Recovered Paper Council, ERPC, the European recycling rate for paper and packaging is 69%. The industry is one of Europe's leading recyclers)
"The message here," says Eustace, "is that whilst consumers are still showing strong preferences for paper, we can do more to tell them about the industry's great environmental record, particularly on recycling and the very positive development of Europe's forests. We don't want consumers feeling guilty about using print on paper; it's a fantastically powerful and sustainable way to communicate."
Source: Two Sides, All generations prefer paper to digital media when it comes to reading, new European research reveals, November 22, 2011.