Two Sides releases results of new U.S. survey. Reading from Paper or Reading from Screens. What do Consumers Prefer?

06/23/2015

Survey highlights that 88% of respondents indicated that they understood, retained or used information better when they read print on paper compared to lower percentages (64% and less) when reading on electronic devices.

Chicago, June 23, 2015 – A new survey into the preferences of consumers for printed versus digital communications has been published today by Two Sides, the global organization created to promote the responsible production, use and sustainability of print and paper.  The survey, which was commissioned by Two Sides and undertaken by international research company Toluna, sought the opinions and preferences of UK and U.S. consumers on a number of issues relating to the change from paper-based to digital media.

Results of the U.S. survey highlighted that 88% of respondents indicated that they understood, retained or used information better when they read print on paper compared to lower percentages (64% and less) when reading on electronic devices.  The same trend was found for reading complicated documents with 80% indicating a clear preference for reading print on paper, and reading on screens showing a much lower preference than print at below 16% across all age groups.

The survey also revealed 81% found printed media more relaxing to read, while 62% of mobile/smartphone users (rising to 73% among the 18 – 24 year olds) were concerned about how these devices were damaging their health (eye strain, headaches, insomnia).  Overall, the survey reported that 81% of respondents preferred to read print on paper when given the choice.

“The results of this U.S. survey will be useful for all those who choose the way in which information is distributed, particularly for advertisers, marketers and educators who need to understand how information is being delivered, received, processed and retained,” explains Phil Riebel, President of Two Sides North America.  “While on-screen reading occupies an increasing amount of consumer time, people’s preferences are still for reading print on paper which they believe to be more informative, less distracting and less harmful to their health.  Results also show that many people are concerned about the effects on learning and literacy due to the switch from printed books to digital media in our school system.”  The Two Sides survey shows that 68% of respondents believe that books are more likely to encourage learning and the development of other skills than using screens, and that 63% of respondents worry that children are not going to learn as much without books.

While acceptance of digital media is generally stronger among younger age-groups, there is also a strong preference for print on paper existing across all ages.  

The full U.S. survey report can be downloaded at http://www.twosidesna.org/US/Reading-from-Paper-or-Reading-from-Screens--What-do-Consumers-Prefer.

Notes to Editor

Key findings from the Two Sides U.S. Survey

1.    88% of respondents believe that they understand and can retain or use information better when they read print on paper. There were only minor differences between age groups.  Reading on screen shows lower preference with the lowest being 41% indicating that mobiles and smartphones were useful for understanding and retaining information.

2.    When given a choice, 81% indicated that they prefer to read print on paper. These percentages drop to 39% for screens, laptops and PCs, 30% for e-readers and 22% for mobiles or smartphones. The preference for print on paper is seen across all age groups and is strong at over 77%.  

3.    81% indicated they are most relaxed when reading print on paper. Age group differences were minor. Mobiles or smartphones are seen as the least relaxing way to read with only 30% preferring this method.  Younger age groups indicated that they are more at ease with reading from screens than the over 45 age groups.

4.    71% indicated that they were more relaxed and receptive when reading a newspaper in print compared to 36% who felt more relaxed and receptive when reading a newspaper from a screen.  There were differences across age groups, however even younger age groups clearly preferred print over online.

5.    75% indicated that they were more relaxed and receptive when reading a magazine in print compared to 26% when reading a magazine on screen.  Differences among age groups were minor, with over 73% of all age groups preferring to read a magazine in print.

6.    80% stated a clear preference for reading print on paper for complicated materials in contrast to only 13% preferring to read complicated materials on a computer screen. Mobiles and smart phones were preferred by only 3% for reading complicated materials.  Reading on screens showed a much lower preference than print at below 16% across all age groups.

7.    The preference for reading long documents in print was also clear with only 32% indicating they prefer reading documents of 3 pages or more on screen.

8.    Only 23% indicated that they are easily distracted when reading print on paper whereas electronic media showed higher distraction ranging from 66% for mobiles and smartphones to 42% for e-readers.

9.    Many respondents print out documents. The main reasons are:

  • 74% believe printed documents are easier to read
  • 55% believe printed documents are more secure
  • 56% believe printed documents are better for storage and archiving
  • 47% believe printed documents are less likely to be lost

10.    The preference for printing increases with increasing age.  However, over 68% across all age groups indicated that they print because it is easier to read.

11.    44% to 57% indicated that they prefer paper bills by mail for their financial services, utilities, telecoms, mobile or smartphone and TV.  The over 45 age groups showed a higher preference for paper bills than the under 45 groups.

12.    Advertisements in print are clearly given more attention than their online equivalent:

  • 64% pay more attention to advertising when reading magazines in print / 26% pay more attention to advertising when reading magazines on line
  • 60% pay more attention to advertising when reading newspapers in print / 29% pay more attention to advertising when reading newspapers on line
  • 48% pay more attention to advertising when reading leaflets received by mail or dropped at the door
  • 26% pay more attention to general online advertising

13.    There are clear concerns that switching from printed books to digital methods is affecting education:  

  •  68% believe that books are more likely to encourage learning and the development of other skills than using screens    
  •  63% worry that children are not going to learn as much without books
  •  59% believe that learning from books is the best way to learn    
  •  58% would insist that their children learn from books    
  •  42% believe that learning from screens, PCs, tablets etc. is just as effective as books

14.    62% of mobile or smartphone users, 59% of computer users and 50% of e-reader users are worried that these devices may be damaging their health (ex: eyestrain, headaches, insomnia).  Reading in print had the least health concerns with 22% concerned that it may be damaging their health.

About Two Sides

Two Sides is a global initiative by companies from the Graphic Communications Industry including Forestry, Pulp, Paper, Inks and Chemicals, Pre Press, Press, Finishing, Publishing, Printing, Envelopes and Postal Operators. Our common goal is to promote the sustainability and attractiveness of the Graphic Communications Industry and dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why Print and Paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium.  For more information about Two Sides North America, please contact us at 1-855-896-7433 or info@twosidesna.org. Visit the Two Sides website at www.twosidesna.org and follow Two Sides on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube


Source: Two Sides North America