PRIMIR: Trends and Future for Financial and Transactional Printing, Section VI. Consumer Research
By PRIMIR - Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization
The majority of consumers surveyed were clear in their feelings that the inclusion of printed promotional offers appearing directly on bills and statements is not the ideal. They want transactional documents to be "simple, easy to understand, and faster to read." and for promotional offers to be included separately.
Source: Study commissioned by PRIMIRsm and conducted by I.T. Strategies (Hanover, MA)
About the Complete PRIMIR Study: This study identifies and quantifies the North American market for financial and transactional printing in 2007 with forecasts through 2012. Segments include statements, documentation, policies, and prospectuses (including transpromotional). It also investigates regulatory and other drivers and barriers impacting this specialty printing segment. Vertical markets include insurance, financial and banking. The study addresses the influence of the Internet, EBPP, and transpromotional trends, consumer acceptance of each, and delves into the trends in printing processes utilized to serve this market including installed base of equipment and unique workflow requirements. Consumer research was an integral part of the methodology.
About this Research Summary: This top-line summary focuses on the consumer research portion (Section VI) of the overall Trends and Future for Financial and Transactional Printing study.
Type of Promotional Material/Activity Tested: The primary goal of the consumer research survey portion of the overall study was to determine the current and future use by consumers of paper transactional documents such as bills and statements. A secondary goal was to determine the proclivity of consumers toward transpromotional printing.
Sample Population: 547 US adults responded to the consumer research survey. A survey sample of 500 for the US population is considered to have a ±5% confidence interval with a 95% confidence level. This means that 95% of the time, I.T. Strategies was confident that percentages in the actual population would not vary by more than 5% in either direction.
More than 80% of the respondents report having high-speed access to the Internet. Almost 75% of the respondents were 50 years of age or older; 26% were between the ages of 18 and 49. Students were not included in the survey. Sixty-eight percent of respondents were female; 32% male. Thirty percent of the respondents earned less than $30,000 a year; 16% earned more than $75,000. Thirty-four percent have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. More than 50% were married.
Methodology: An e-mail survey of consumers was conducted in Fall 2007. The survey consisted of both closed and open-ended questions. In total, there were almost 5,000 individual, open-ended responses. Open-ended questions were not required to be answered.
Top Line Results:
- Fifty percent of respondents state they currently receive all of their bills and statements in paper format; Only 2% of respondents report receiving all of their transactional documents in electronic format, bypassing paper altogether.
- The most mentioned documents received in paper format are:
|Checking account statements||83%|
|Credit card bills||75%|
- The top 3 reasons respondents note for receiving documents in paper format:
|Not available electronically||35%|
|Need it in paper format||33%|
|Paper is more convenient||31%|
- Of the respondents who receive their bills and statements in paper format due to the fact that the documents are not available in electronic format, 44% say they would switch to an e-format if the document were offered in an easy to download and store format, such as PDF.
- Respondents who prefer receiving their bills and statements in paper format cite the ease of being able to file and retrieve documents for tax and other record keeping purposes. In their open-ended answers, some respondents say that a piece of paper is a reminder to pay the bill while e-correspondence can mean, "out of sight is out of mind.” In addition, twenty percent of respondents report choosing to receive transactional documents in paper format for they do not trust the Internet.
- The majority of transactional documents are read just once. About 20% of respondents say they read their financial documents at least twice -- one reason given is that they find the documents to be complicated (e.g., telephone bills, medical bills).
- In respondents' open-ended feedback on how to improve paper documents to make them more user-friendly? The ideal document is described as short, simple, organized, and easy to understand with features such as the use of plain speak, clear fonts, graphics, and also personalized to reduce clutter (i.e., send me just what I need).
- Respondents chose checking account statements as the most user-friendly transactional document received. The least user-friendly? The phone bill is noted for reasons such as: contains too many pages, is too complex, features too many codes, unclear what varying charges are for, and has too much unnecessary and non-relevant information.
- The survey reveals that one-third of the respondents discard promotional materials without reading them. On the other hand, more than half report they read some (yet discard most), and nearly one in five read most (discard some) or report reading all promotional materials received.
The survey finds that as age increases so does the percentage of people reading promotional materials:
Read most, discard some
Read some, discard most
Never read any
Although a small number, respondents in the 18-39 age group have the largest percentage of those that read all promotional materials and are a close second to seniors for reading most promotional material received.
- Asked what they think of the idea of promotional printing appearing directly on their bills and statements, a strong majority (72%) say that this is not ideal. Mentioned in their open-ended responses as reasons for not favoring promotions printed directly on transactional documents: wanting promotions separate so they can easily be thrown away and that offers printed "directly on a statement" make documents more difficult to read. Printing promotional offers directly on bills and statements goes against respondents' expressed desire for simple, clear, and easy to read documents.
Of those who like the idea of promotional offers printed directly on their bills and statements (28%) they say it is because they feel it can reduce the amount of paper used. However, they also say it will not make them more likely to respond to such offers.
PAPER DOCUMENTS: “People like paper for their transactional documents for a number of reasons including its fundamental nature as a record keeper in our society; it is tangible proof of a transaction; and it is the basis for the way people save, file and retrieve their financial information.”
PROMOTIONAL OFFERS: More than half of consumers surveyed report they read some (yet discard most) of promotional offers received and nearly one in five read most or all promotional materials received. One-third discard promotional materials without reading them.
TRANSPROMOTIONAL OFFERS: The majority of consumers surveyed were clear in their feelings that the inclusion of printed promotional offers appearing directly on bills and statements is not the ideal. They want transactional documents to be “simple, easy to understand, and faster to read” -- and for promotional offers to be included separately.
ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS: "While consumers like their paper, they also like the convenience of receiving "green" e-statements. Many receive both. About 25% of the respondents expect some transition of one of their bills to e-statements over the next two years. These are likely to be checking account statements and credit card statements. This shift may further challenge transpromotional printing opportunities as credit card statements are one of the key data sources that lend itself well to transpromotional printing.”
PRIMIR will be offering for sale the data from the consumer research portion of this study for cross tabs and further analysis. For details, please contact Jackie Bland at (703) 264-7211 or firstname.lastname@example.org