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The Final Word by Chuck Swann
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Who or what are millennials and why should they matter to papermakers?

Broadly speaking, they are that cohort of the population born between (roughly) 1976 and 2000. There are about 76 million of them. They grew up with computers and the Internet.

Many members of this group can be identified because they appear to have smart phones permanently welded to one of their hands. They may also have very muscular thumbs developed through unending texting through their smart phones. According to Pew Research, they send a median of 50 texts per day.

Having grown up being bombarded by advertising, millennials tend to be skeptical about promotional material--but strangely enough, they like catalogs. As we reported earlier in a Nip Impressions article, studies from the Data & Marketing Association show that this group happens to like catalogs more than other age groups do. According to Neil O'Keefe, a senior vice president of the association, "Millennials are very engaged by imagery, and the catalog really allows that to stand out. So the response rate there is very different from what you would experience with a display ad, even an email. The response rate for a printed piece has been on the rise of late."

But millennials are not alone in liking catalogs. Hamilton Davison, president of the American Catalog Mailers Association, said many other Americans order from catalogs. He said US Postal Service studies found that after periodicals and bills, catalogs attract the most views, getting as much attention as personal correspondence. "Catalogs come uninvited into the home, and yet they are welcome," he said.

Chuck Swann is Senior Editor of Paperitalo Publications.


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