08 October 2017 Business

Only print can deliver that hygge moment

A survey for Two Sides finds that print is valued most when consumers switch off their electronic devices and curl up for a good read.

Print is the hygge medium to judge by presentation of findings of the most recent Two Sides survey into consumer attitudes towards print and digital media.

The report is illustrated by someone cross-legged on cushions, clothed in leisurewear, drinking something comforting from a china cup while the room is lit by tiny sparkling light bulbs. A second illustration has a man reading a book in the comfort of a leather chesterfield. The message is clear: for down time, print wins out over digital.

The print media win for providing a deeper understanding of a subject and are more trusted, but many consumers will increase their use of digital publications in consumption of news. Almost three-quarters already read news on a digital device and 50% plan to read more news online in future.

This can already be inferred from falling circulation figures for newspapers in most parts of the world. And the pressures of modern life are reducing the amount of time that people feel they have to read books or newspapers, even if when they do, they prefer the printed over the digital page, 72% in the case of magazines, 72% for books. Fewer than 10% expressed their preference for electronic versions of books or magazines.

However, as with newspapers, the issue is not as clear cut with transactional or functional communications. The preference for printed statements from utilities, banks and telecoms companies is just 33%. This is enough for Two Sides to state that consumers need to be given a choice on how they receive messages from those companies that have to communicate with them and which need to be read, albeit not necessarily with enjoyment.

The grey area continues with advertising. The audience is split: 52% saying they prefer to read product catalogues in print and 45% they like to receive direct mail that is personally addressed to them. The balance is slightly in favour of print for information conveyed by leaflets, 56%, compared to email, 49%.

The content will almost certainly influence and Touna, the research company that carried out the surveys, does not test different types of content, communications from a previous supplier versus a blind email or direct mail piece, for example. This probably explains why 68% say they pay no attention to online advertisements and 57% actually consciously avoid them.

The local findings are at the upper end of this. In the UK, 78% pay not attention to online ads, 72% cannot recall the last time they clicked on a banner, 69% find them annoying and 64% avoid or block digital intrusion.

Another of the key findings is an increasing concern about the impact of digital communication on health. A large majority believe they spend too much time with their digital devices and 69% of those in the UK believe it is important to switch off the digital noise and enjoy the printed word. Perhaps with a scented candle.

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