July 27, 2016

Paper vs. Digital: Two Sides Survey Results

Over 1,000 U.S. and 500 U.K. consumers were asked their opinion on the evolution from paper-based documents to digital media. Results of the “Two Sides” U.S. survey highlighted that 88% of respondents indicate that they understand, retain, or use 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. In fact, reading on screens showing a much lower preference than print, at below 16%, across all age groups.

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

Over half, or 59% of Americans ages 18 through 24 believe it is wrong to make anybody, regardless of their situation, go online in order to receive or pay bills. A significant majority, or 90.4% of respondents believe that companies that send bills, statements, and informational documents such as proxies or privacy statements must allow customers to continue receiving these documents in paper format at no extra charge, no loss of discount, or other penalty.

When considering documents like bills and statements, 65% of adult Americans prefer paper delivery. The key reasons are: “I am more likely to see it / less likely to miss it or forget to pay it.” Other reasons cited are that they prefer to store these documents in paper format, and that in the case of a dispute, the paper format is more compelling.

These results don’t vary much with younger Americans. 62% of young adult Americans still prefer paper format/delivery for some or all of their bills and statements.

There are other examples, many coming from the mailing industry, that show that people prefer paper-based communication and printed documents – especially transactional documents such as bills, statements, and insurance policies. One study showed that 70% are more likely to read a transactional document if it is provided to them in a printed format.

Unfortunately, most ECM systems, out of the box, have limited capability to format document sets retrieved from the repositories – especially across multiple repositories and differing original document formats. The reality of communications today is multi-channel, with the customer controlling their preferences. CrawfordTech has a variety of Customer Communication Management (CCM) tools to equip your ECM workflow processes to handle multi-channel customer communications.

Crawford Technologies Riptide® family of products is specifically designed to address these needs. Contact us when you are ready to equip your ECM system with a better, more effective way to leverage your content in the format shown to be preferred by your customers.

To learn more about the relationship between content, paper and digital communications, read our white paper - The Opportunity at the Nexus of Content, Data and Output Management

Survey sources:

  • Paper by Choice People of All Ages Prefer to Receive Retirement Plan Information on Paper-AARP
  • EMA Fact Sheets
  • TS-North America Reading From Paper or Screens
  • Survey Source: EMA Foundation, Highlighting Consumer Preferences for Paper Bills and Statements, Spring 2014.