Nearly Half of Americans Say They Would Feel Sad If Printed Materials No Longer Existed

However, Two Thirds Believe that Print Will Eventually be Phased-Out and Digital Will Rule

Nearly Half of Americans Say They Would Feel Sad If Printed Materials No Longer Existed

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, February 14, 2019 — According to a recent online survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Canon, adults are most likely to say that if printed materials no longer existed it would make them feel sad (47%). Only 5%, in comparison, say that they would feel happy and very few (1%) would feel relieved. One in five would feel unsure (22%) if print medium no longer existed, while at least one in ten would feel indifferent (14%). Fewer say that the extinction of the print medium would make them feel anxious (6%) or overwhelmed (4%).

  • Women (50% vs. 43% of men), adults over the age of 55 (55% vs. 39% of those age 18-34), and those with a household income of at least $100,000 (53% vs. 44% of those earning less) are among the most likely to say they would be sad if printed materials no longer existed.

Two thirds believe that print will eventually be phased-out and digital will rule (64%), with those under the age of 55 (68% vs. 57% of those age 55+) and those with children living at home (69% vs. 62% of those with no kids) particularly likely to feel this way. Thinking about the future, more than eight in ten predict that search engines (89%) and TV (84%) will be important to them personally in the year 2030, while roughly three quarters say the same thing of radio (76%), books (76%), and news websites (75%). More than half also believe that social media sites (68%), e-books (53%), print newspapers (52%), and print magazines (50%) will play important roles in their lives in the year 2030, though not quite as many say that audiobooks (44%), magazine websites (44%) and podcasts (42%) will be important to them ten years from now.

  • While a greater proportion of women believe that search engines (91% vs. 86% of men), TV (86% vs. 81%), books (82% vs. 69%), and social media sites (71% vs. 65%) will be important to their lives in the year 2030, men are more likely to think they will rely on magazine websites (47% vs. 41% of women) in the future.
  • Having access to TV (88% of those age 55+ vs. 79% of those age 18-34), print newspapers (59% vs. 44%), and print magazines (57% vs. 43%) in the future is much more likely to be considered important by older respondents, while those under the age of 35 are more likely to say social media sites (81% vs. 55% of those age 55+), e-books (62% vs. 44%), and audiobooks (56% vs. 35%) will be important to them 10 years from now.  

Despite a majority thinking that print will eventually be phased-out and digital will rule, there are some instances where print if preferred. For instance, just over three quarters say that they prefer reading physical books more than e-books (76%) and similar proportions prefer to send their loved ones printed cards (73%). Another seven in ten say that they like being able to highlight and mark up physical content (70%) – and 76% of students agree that they prefer doing their school reading and assignments on paper as opposed to online.

When asked about practices that make them feel MOST relaxed and peaceful when dealing with the stresses of daily life, adults are most likely to mention reading a book (48%) as their preferred means to help relieve stress. This is especially true for women (57% vs. 38% of men), adults over the age of 55 (51% vs. 44% of those age 35-54), the more affluent (53% vs. 45% of those earning less than $100,000 annually), and those with a college degree (51% vs. 45% of those with no degree).

  • Roughly two in five say instead that watching streaming services (41%) or exercising (38%) make them feel most relaxed and peaceful, while at least three in ten turn to cooking (33%) or traveling (30%).
  • One in five opt to mediate to cope with the stresses of daily life (21%) and 14% mention something else. Only 6% say that they do not do any of these to help them feel more relaxed when faced with daily stresses.

Reading physical books is also seen as being beneficial for a variety of reasons, including at least eight in ten who say this can help people learn about history (85%) and different cultures (81%), help to focus attention (82%), and help to reduce stress levels (80%). A similar proportion say that reading physical books can help people become more open-minded (79%) and help them think outside the box (79%), while roughly three quarters also think books can make you feel better when you’re down (77%), enhance creativity (74%), and help to develop problem-solving skills (74%). A majority also say that books can help to focus on the present (72%) and teach people to connect with others (62%) and feel empathy (71%).

  • Young adults are significantly more likely to believe that reading physical books can be very/somewhat impactful in many of these ways, include a greater proportion who believe that books can help uplift spirits when feeling down (83% vs. 73% of those age 55+), boost creativity (79% vs. 68%), and help teach people to connect with others (69% vs. 56%).

For three quarters, the quality and graphics of print is very important to catching their attention (76%) – though only 39% agree that they prefer content with less text and more graphics (vs. 56% who disagree with this statement). In fact, text (50%) is the feature most likely to make printed materials stand out to adults, followed closely by content (49%) and quality (48%). At least two in five say that graphics (45%) and colors (42%) make printed materials stand out for them, while roughly three in ten say the same thing of personalized material (30%) and textures (27%). Not quite one in ten (8%) say that none of these features make printed materials stand out to them.

  • Those most likely to prefer content that features less text and more graphics include men (44% vs. 35% of women) and younger adults (49% of those age 18-34 vs. 32% of those age 55+).

Two thirds do admit that they get annoyed when their mailbox is filled with printed ads (66%) and more than half try to avoid printing where they can to help the environment (55%). Women (58% vs. 52% of men), adults under the age of 35 (64% vs. 46% of those age 55+), those with children living at home (60% vs. 53% of those with no children), and those with a college degree (62% vs. 50% of those with no degree) are among the most likely to be conscious of printing in an effort to help the environment.
More than half agree they were pleased and/or 'proud' to have received an "I voted" sticker (57%) and one in five (21%) posted a picture of their "I voted" sticker online. Those between the ages of 18-34 were much more likely to post a picture of their sticker online (32% vs. 24% of those age 35-54 and 9% of those age 55+).

Looking more specifically at digital content, just over half admit that overall in their life, they rely more on digital content than physical content (56%) – yet seven in ten agree that the constant barrage of digital information is too much (69%). More than eight in ten say that they scroll past digital advertisements when online (82%) and another six in ten (62%) say that they often find themselves multi-tasking and not fully paying attention to what they are reading when using screens.

  • Those most likely to admit they rely more on digital content than physical content in their overall life include adults under the age of 35 (71% vs. 38% of those age 55+), the more affluent (especially those with a household income of $100,000+) (62% vs. 51% of those earning less than %50,000 annually), those with children living at home (65% vs. 53% of those with no children), and those with a college degree (62% vs. 52% of those with no degree). Adults from these demographic segments also stand out as being particularly more likely to say they do not fully pay attention to what they are reading when using screens.

When it comes to selecting a platform to accomplish different activities, print is most likely to be preferred when reading a book (60% vs. 27% who prefer using a tablet/smartphone/laptop/desktop) and sending/receiving a greeting card (56% vs. 33% who prefer tablet/smartphone/laptop/desktop).
On the other hand, Americans are particularly likely to favor using a laptop/desktop when editing a document (68% vs. 11% who prefer print and 9% who prefer smartphone/tablet) or studying/researching (59% vs. 16% who prefer print and 16% who prefer using tablets/ smartphones). Nearly half also say that they prefer using a laptop/desktop when reviewing a report (45%), though one in four instead favor print (25%) and only a few prefer reviewing reports using a smartphone (9%) or tablet (7%).

Smartphones are the top choice when it comes to keeping track of their day/schedule (43%), though roughly one in five prefer to do this via print (21%) or a laptop/desktop (17%). Opinions are split when it comes to reading the news, with 29% of Americans saying that they prefer to do this on a laptop/desktop, 28% preferring print, and 26% who would opt to read the news on their smartphone (26%). One in ten prefer to read the news using a tablet (10%).

  • Overall, a greater proportion of women and adults over the age of 55 prefer print when undertaking many of the activities listed above, while those between the ages of 18-34 stand out as being particularly likely to enjoy using their smartphone when completing the above tasks.

Level of Trust in Different Mediums

Americans are most likely to trust the information they receive via radio (79%), books (78%), search engines sites (78%), reports/ documents (75%), newspapers (74%), and TV (72%). In contrast, they are least likely to trust information that comes from podcasts (44%), social media sites (43%), and online ads (41%). Magazines (68%), online news website (64%), brochures/flyers (61%), print ads (58%), e-books (53%), online magazines (52%), and audiobooks (51%) fall in the middle, with at least half saying that they completely/ somewhat trust the information they receive from these mediums.

Thinking about how communication campaigns or causes can influence their decisions, TV (76%), news websites (68%), radio (66%), newspapers (64%), and email (60%) are rated as being the most important mediums used. At least half say that social media sites (56%), printed direct mail (55%), and flyers (51%) are important when influencing their decisions, while not quite as many say the same thing about online petitions (47%), posters (46%), and magazines (45%). Banners (41%), magazine websites (37%), and podcasts (36%) are rated as being important mediums for influencing decisions around campaigns or causes by about two in five, while e-books (26%) and audiobooks (25%) are seen as being least important.

  • Young adults are particularly likely to stress the importance of communication about campaigns or causes when making decisions, including a greater proportion who say information transmitted via news websites (72% vs. 61% of those age 55+), e-mail (64% vs. 53%), social media sites (75% vs. 37%), flyers (55% vs. 45%), online petitions (61% vs. 34%), posters (58% vs. 34%), magazine (48% vs. 41%), banners (55% vs. 26%), magazine website (45% vs. 26%), podcasts (54% vs. 20%), e-books (36% vs. 16%), and audiobooks (37% vs. 14%) is important to them.

Print/Digital Usage

When it comes to communication using either digital or print, Americans say they use digital most often when communicating with their core group of friends (74% vs. 11% who use print the most and 16% who say this is not applicable), a wider group of friends (75% vs. 10% who use print the most and 15% who say this is not applicable), their extended family (70% vs. 14% print and 16% who say this is not applicable), and even their immediate family (69% vs. 18% who use print the most). More than half (55%) also say that they use digital mediums the most to communicate with work colleagues, versus only 8% who use print – though 36% say this is not applicable. Fewer use digital the most when communication with their spouse (38% vs. 20% who say they use print the most and 42% who say that this is not applicable) or romantic partner (37% vs. 19% print and 43% not applicable).

Looking at different types of mediums used over the past month, the majority have watched TV (62%), read magazines (54%) and/or books (53%), and listened to the radio (52%). At least a third have read a newspaper (45%), online news (43%), or a brochure/flyer (34%), while nearly one in five have listened to a podcast (18%) or read an e-book (18%). Fewer say that they have read an online magazine (13%) or listened to an audiobook (10%), while only 7% say that they not read/watched/listened to any of these.

The mediums used most often include TV (90%), search engines (86%), radio (79%), social media sites (76%), online news websites (66%) and books (65%), where at least two thirds say that they use these frequently/sometimes over the course of a typical month. More than half also read magazines (57%) and newspapers (50%). Less than half are reading/listening to brochures/flyers (42%), online magazine websites (30%), e-books (29%), podcasts (28%), and audiobooks (18%) at least sometimes over the course of a typical month.

When describing their print/digital habits, only in ten (13%) say that they solely use print mediums while one in five (20%) say that they only use digital mediums. The majority instead use a mix of both, with 36% saying they use print to complement digital mediums and 32% who say that they use digital to complement print.

In the past 12 months, Americans are much more likely to have given someone a printed card (63%) versus sent someone an e-card (24%). In fact, 82% say that they are very/somewhat likely to choose to buy a printed greeting card over a digital card.

Giving a printed card for Valentine’s Day is also much more common than giving someone an e-card on this occasion (36% vs. 8%), as is receiving a printed invitation and RSVP for a wedding (34% vs. 15% who received a digital invitation and RSVP for a wedding).

More than half have also used a printed calendar in their home over the past year (56%), while at least one five have used a physical planner (29%) and/or saved an event invite e.g. pinned to board (20%). One in ten have recently mailed postcards while traveling (10%) or collected postcard from cities they've been to (10%).

Two thirds say that they are likely to buy a painting or print to decorate their home at some point (64%). Nearly half report being likely to select a bottle of wine because of visual appeal/label (47%) and 35% say the same thing of selecting a beer based on its label/box design. A third of Americans say that they are likely to buy a poster from a concert/event to remember the occasion in the future (33%).

 

About the Study

These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted November 27 - 29, 2018 on behalf of Canon. For the survey, a sample of 2,010 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ±2.5 percentage points for all respondents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, region, race/ethnicity and income.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=2,010, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=4.0).

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
chris.jackson@ipsos.com

Marie-Pierre Lemay
Senior Account Manager, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 613 793-1622
marie.lemay@ipsos.com

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.
Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.
Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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