Print is dead!

There is no doubt that we live in a ‘digital world’. Mobile phones are practically an extension of the human arm, and the rate at which people spend time on their phone or tablet is increasing. In fact, reported that people aged over 18 spend an average of over 4 hrs on their phone or tablet per day.

There’s no denying that consumers have more access to information than ever before; and marketers are on top of this digital growth – pushing digital marketing up… but does this actually mean that print is dead?

In 2017, Twosides commissioned independent research company Toluna, to conduct a survey across 10 different countries (including Australia) with 10,700 participants to analyse customer preferences, attitudes and the level of trust people have for print and paper in a digital world.

Below are some of their findings.

Consumers prefer to read from print.

of consumers prefer to read printed books rather than e-books.

of consumers prefer to sit back and relax with a printed copy of their favourite magazine.

of consumers prefer to read printed newspapers over digital options.

But when it comes to transactional documents such as bills and statements, the preferred way of reading and recording documents is on a computer. Mobiles and tablets are the least popular devices.

Consumers trust and gain a deeper understanding when reading in print.

“Consumers across the world have very little trust in social media as a source of news.”

of respondents trust the news they see on social media.

of respondents trust the news they read in printed newspapers.

“Printed newspapers can provide in-depth coverage of a story” without the distractions of  intrusive advertisements, social media, pop-ups, etc. that are associated with online reading.

There are concerns about health impacts of digital consumption.

of respondents are concerned that overuse of electronic devices can be damaging their health.

of respondents believe that it is important to ‘switch off’ and enjoy print more often.

Consumers respond to print marketing and advertising.

of respondents do not pay attention to advertisements online.

of respondents find online ads annoying and irrelevant.

of respondents do their best to block or avoid online ads.

of respondents don’t trust many ads seen online.

But 46% of respondents admitted that they would more likely take action after seeing an ad in a printed newspaper or magazine than if they saw the same ad online. And 46% “pay more attention to messages and advertisements in printed leaflets and mail than messages and advertisements delivered through emails”.

My thoughts on ‘print vs. digital’?

My thoughts are pretty simple. While I love print design and believe that it can be a very beneficial form of communication if used in the right way, I also know that digital can often be a better form of communication depending on the marketing circumstances. Digital and print media both have their pros and cons… but the suitability of either direction should SOLELY depend on a company’s audience, target market, and the ways in which they want/require their audience to engage and interact with the message, product and/or service. Sometimes they can even work amazingly hand-in-hand!

A non-biased marketing opinion is very helpful in these situations.

But aren’t print sales going down?

Yes. You’re correct. Despite the majority of respondents admitting that they “enjoy reading print more than digital, plus the concerns about the overuse of electronic devices,  63% of respondents are reading fewer printed magazines than they used to, 61% are reading fewer printed newspapers, and 45% are reading fewer printed books.”

In today’s digital era, people are interacting with print differently. The rise of digital marketing/advertising has slowed the print industry and the demand for print has changed. But while people might read print less than before, I don’t believe print is dead. My expert opinion is that we need to take this under our belt and change the way that we create and communicate with print. Gone are the days where people pay to read a magazine filled, and laden with advertisements on almost every page. And gone are the days when everyone wanders down to the local news agent to buy their daily paper in the mornings. It’s not so much about ditching ’print’, but it’s more about being smart about how we deliver the message whichever medium –print or digital. Again, the suitability of either direction should SOLELY depend on a company’s audience, target market, and the ways in which they want/require their audience to engage and interact with the message, product and/or service.


If you’re wondering if print is right direction for you, give me a holler and we can discuss the goals of your project to get the best results for you.


And if you’d like to read more about the findings of the study, download the full report below.

Download the full report