Paper and Print in a Digital World - An International Survey Of Consumer Preferences, Attitudes And Trust

An international survey of 10,700 consumers was commissioned by Two Sides and carried out by independent research company Toluna in June 2017. The survey was undertaken in ten countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Overall, findings conclude that consumers trust, enjoy and gain a deeper understanding of information read in print, with signs of digital fatigue and concern for security and privacy evident.

To read the full report click here


5 Advantages of Digital Printing

Digital printing refers to modern printing methods that use digital files instead of printing plates.  The main advantages of digital print are:-

1.Personalisation & Variable data– Variable Data Printing (VDP) allows for the customisation of individual graphics or text on a print by print basis. Every impression on the paper can be different, making digital ideal for personalised direct mail campaigns.


2.Speed- digital is the perfect option if you need something turned around very fast. Unlike lithographic printing, there is no need to prepare plates so only minimal set-up time is required.


3.Quality– digital technology has improved significantly over recent years. HP Indigo’s Liquid ElectroInk Process (LEP) process matches and at times surpasses traditional offset (lithographic) printing and exceeds competing digital printing technologies.


4.Versatility- digital print is very versatile. HP Indigo printers have the largest media range, enabling printing on over 3,000 certified substrates, including synthetics, darks and metallics.


5.Value– as digital printing is so quick to set up there are minimal set up costs. It therefore offers exceptional value, especially for shorter print runs.


National Gallery Case Study

The National Gallery utilised digital print technology to produce a high quality book (pictured) to commemorate an exhibition of newly acquired Titian paintings .

The books were available for sale within one week, compared to 6-12 week lead-time required for traditional offset (lithographic) printing.  The Indigo solution delivered a far more effective and lower-cost solution, without any loss of quality.


About Positive

At Positive we offer innovative digital printing facilities ensuring exceptional quality, speed, versitility and value for money.  Our HP Indigo digital technology is ideal for smaller print runs and variable data projects.

Our Surrey based factory provides the full range of integrated print services including digital printing, lithographic printing, large format printing and direct mail.

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National Gallery Case Study Image & Copy- Copyright 2014 Hewlett-Packard Development Company


The Value of Print over Digital Communication

Many Consumers Value Paper Based Communications

Many organisations, banks, utilities, telecoms and governments are now increasingly going online or making charges if consumers wish to receive paper based communication. Switching to digital is not always welcome by consumers.

  • 84% of consumers do not like it when companies take away their right to choose how they are communicated with. 
    -Keep Me Posted UK, Opinium, 2013.

  • In a recent US survey, 90.4% of respondents believe that companies that send bills, statements, and informational documentssuch as proxies or privacy statements should be required, if necessary, to allow customersto continue receiving these documents in paper format at no extra charge, no loss of discount, or other penalty.

  • Independent findings from UK Opinium Research reveal that often the most vulnerable members of society are those most dependent on traditional, postal, transactional mail. The move to an online-only society risks leaving the elderly, disabled, rural dwellers and those on low incomes disenfranchised.

  • 87% of consumers agree that the main reasons companies wantto shift to electronic delivery, is to save money not to be environmentally responsible. 
    -Two Sides and Toluna, 2013.

  • 89% of consumers want to be able to switch between paper and online without difficulty and cost.

It is important for policy makers to acknowledge that information on paperis preferred by many consumers and often receives more attention. Consumers wishto retain the flexibility of postal and electronic communications.

In reality we live in an increasingly digital world where electronic and paper based communications coexist and are often complementary. Communication strategies must not only be cost effective but also recognise citizen choice. There are many tangible benefits that paper based documentation can bring and its preference as a means of communication by many consumers must be at the forefront ofany digital planning.

71% of consumers understand that paper is a renewable and recyclable product that, if responsibly produced and consumed, can be the sustainable way to communicate.
Two Sides and Toluna, 2011 and 2013.



An international survey with over 7,000 recipients was commissioned by Two Sides and carried out by international research company Toluna in June 2016. The survey was also undertaken internationally in: Australia, Brazil, Europe - Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, New Zealand, North America and the United Kingdom. This report details responses from Australian consumers, and consumer preferences for a survey sample of 532, providing insight into their perception of the environmental impacts of paper and print. It asks respondents to consider why companies are encouraging a switch to electronic communications and reveals that consumers want the choice to be able to continue receiving printed information. Findings also suggest that consumers are mistrustful of misleading environmental marketing statements made by companies and understand that this is often a cover for cost saving.

It is not evident that younger age demographics connection with paper is significantly different to older groups. Whilst acceptance of digital media is stronger amongst younger ages, a preference for print on paper still exists for all ages.

This report goes on to examine views regarding the impact of paper on forests, with findings indicating that despite Australian forests growing in size by 308,000 hectares in the last five (5) years and the leading cause of tropical deforestation being conversion to agricultural lands, consumers are concerned about the effect on forests by the production of paper and print. Educating consumers on practices within the paper industry is required, as consumers are unaware that 82% of paper consumed is from planted forests.

Looking at recycling, consumers understand the natural and recyclable nature of paper, with a majority of consumers believing that recyclability is an important characteristic of environmentally responsible products. Although, consumers do not realise that the industry is a leading recycler and that 87% of paper is recovered for recycling in Australia. Work is needed to drive through these fundamental messages about the industry’s environmental pedigree to the wider public.

Overall, findings conclude that consumers prefer to read from paper than from screens, appreciating the tactile nature of paper. Consumers also fundamentally believe that when sourced from sustainably managed forests, paper and print remains a sustainable way to communicate.

To read the full report click here