The Insights Blog

Reading from Paper or Reading from Screens. What do Consumers Prefer?

A survey into the preferences of consumers for printed versus digital communications has recently been published by ‘Two Sides’; the global initiative which addresses the misconceptions of paper use as a communications medium. The survey, which was commissioned by Two Sides and undertaken by international research company Toluna, sought the opinions and preferences of 500 consumers in the UK and 1,000 in the US on a number of issues relating to the switch from paper-based to digital media.

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Some Key findings from the UK Report

  • 84% of people believe that they understand and can retain or use information much better when they read print on paper. Only 31% of people thought mobiles and smart phones were useful for imparting understandable, useful and memorable information.
  • 79% of people are most relaxed when reading print on paper. Mobiles or smart phones being seen as a relaxing media by only 23%
  • 60% of mobile or smart phone users, (71% 18 -24’s), 57% of computer users, (74% 18 -24’s), and 46% of e-readers are worried that these devices may be damaging their health; (eyestrain, headaches, insomnia).
  • Only 21% are easily distracted when reading print on paper whereas other electronic channels show high distraction rates ranging from 65% for mobiles and smart phones to 42% for e-readers.

Some Key findings from the U.S. Report

  • 88% of respondents believe that they understand and can retain or use information better when they read print on paper.
  • When given a choice, 81% indicated that they prefer to read print on paper.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Visitor International - View on Research Findings

The findings come as no surprise to the members of Visitor international. All the feedback we receive through our research surveys and our interaction with visitors and hospitality professionals, confirm that visitors love print. We do live in an increasingly digital world, but print is loved and is also the most effective means of communicating with visitors during their visits.


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. Their 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 and their research surveys, visit www.twosidesna.org or www.twosides.info