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Global graphic communications organisation Two Sides has conducted a study into how consumers around the world respond to paper and print. Business Optimizer takes a look at its findings.

In this digital world, the place for paper and print is a highly debated subject. This survey for Two Sides asked more than 10,700 consumers in ten countries about their feelings around going digital. A roughly even survey sample of men and women in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the USA threw up some surprising findings.

Fake news

A large number of respondents (76%) said they are worried about the trend of “fake news”. Respondents said they are more likely to trust the stories in printed newspapers (51%) rather than social media (24%).

Respondents also perceived other advantages to reading in print. 65% of respondents said they gain a deeper understanding of the story when reading in print. And 69% of respondents said it is important to “switch off” and enjoy printed media. This figure was even higher in France, where 79% of respondents prefer to read in print when “switching off”.

Content is king

The type of content being consumed did affect how respondents preferred to consume it. Overall, 73% of respondents prefer to read books in printed form. 69% of respondents prefer to read magazines in printed form. Whereas, generally, respondents were happier to consumer news media in either form; only 55% of respondents said they prefer newspapers in print form.

Marketing communications threw up some surprising responses: 35% of respondents in France claim to never read a marketing email at all! Whereas in Australia, 54% of respondents use a printed catalogue to shop and browse for products on a weekly basis.

Despite these national variations, overall it was clear that effective marketing requires a mix of print and digital communications. Nearly 70% of consumers regularly use printed materials to browse or shop for products, while 85% regularly do so on a digital device.

Concern over digital consumption

Despite this broad acceptance of a mix of media, some consumers expressed a concern about the amount of digital content they are consuming. 52% of global respondents said they spend “too much” in digital devices and 53% worried that overuse of digital devices could be damaging to their health in terms of eyestrain, sleep deprivation and headaches.