Consumers choice for print communications should remain

September 2021

The latest global study of 8,800 consumers from Two Sides shows that responsible organisations should not remove the right from consumers to choose whether they receive a paper or digital communications. The study was undertaken in January 2021, reviewed consumer attitudes and perceptions for printed communications, paper and paper-based packaging. 

Many organisations have moved consumers to receive communications in a digital format rather than more traditional formats such as print. Many of these organisations have made these changes based on cost-saving initiatives, however misleading statements have also been used to sway consumers into this choice by stating environmental benefits. Commonly referred to as Greenwashing.

A recent study, Paper’s Place on a Post-Pandemic World, conducted by the not-for-profit organisation Two Sides and independent research company Toluna, found that consumers overwhelmingly want the right to choose how they receive communications (digitally or printed) from organisations.

The right to choose.

  • 76% of UK consumers want the right to choose.
  • 74% EU want this choice.

Often, it is the most vulnerable members of society that depend on traditional, postal, transactional mail. The move to an online-only society risks leaving many older people, disabled, rural dwellers and households on low incomes disconnected.

  • In the UK, 4.5 million adults have never used the internet (Office of National Statistics, 2018).
  • 58% of UK consumers (54% EU) agree that they should not be charged more for choosing a paper bill or statement.
  • 32% (29% EU) would consider switching to an alternative provider if the choice of communication type was removed. 

Digital communication isn’t always preferred.

When a consumer is moved to digital bills and statements, it rarely stays “paperless”

  • 59% of UK consumers (47% EU) regularly print out hard copies at home.

Connecting with customers

For advertisers, print media could be an opportunity to help rebuild their brands following the long lockdown. 

  • 53% of UK consumers (51% EU) do their best to block or avoid online adverts
  • 60% (55% EU) don’t pay attention to online adverts.

Many previous studies have shown the power of direct mail and door drops, which receive a high degree of attention, usually being kept and passed around a household. 


Read more on the report, visit the Two Sides website:

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