The Final Word by Chuck Swann

Chuck Swann, Senior Editor

The Final Word by Chuck Swann

The results of an international survey by Two Sides provides unique insight into how print and paper are 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 10 countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The results revealed a strong preference for print for recreational reading: books, magazines, news, etc. Seventy-two percent of global respondents prefer printed books, compared to only 9% preferring e-books. Significant differences were also identified by country: 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. Seventy-six percent 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 deeper understanding of the story.

The common claims promoting the drive to digital, such as "Go Green--Go Paperless" and "Save Trees," are creating consumer suspicion as 62% of global respondents believe the switch to digital is being pushed because the senders want to save money, not because it is better for the environment.

Overall, the 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.

Two Sides is a global initiative by companies in the spectrum of graphic communications. Its goal is to promote the sustainability of graphic communications and dispel common environmental misconceptions.

Chuck Swann is Senior Editor of Paperitalo Publications.