Consumers want the right to choose how they receive their communications, a new study examining customer preferences and perceptions of print, paper and paper-based packaging has revealed.
More than 10,000 consumers in 16 countries took part in the Two Sides Trend Tracker survey, which is carried out every two years.
The study shows that over half (55%) of consumers agree that when a service provider wants to switch them from paper to electronic bills and statements because “it is better for the environment,” the real reason is to save costs.
This increased from 49% in 2021. Even when consumers are forced to go digital, 62% agree (up from 54% in 2021) they should not be charged more for choosing a paper bill or statement.
The Trend Tracker also revealed that 76% of European consumers (up from 74% in 2021) agree that they should have the right to choose how they receive communications, printed or electronically, from financial organisations and service providers. Ensuring choice not only supports consumer demand, but also ensures those who are unable to access digital information are not disadvantaged.
The survey shows consumers are concerned with the security of digital communications, and that “digital downtime” is more important than ever.
More than half (56%) of European consumers are increasingly concerned that personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged. Meanwhile, 49% agree that they spend too much time on digital devices and 48% are concerned that the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health.
“Print and digital are often compared in a bid to decide which is best, but both channels are important and complement each other,” said Two Sides Europe Managing Director Jonathan Tame. “However, it’s important that consumers are not mislead into believing that digital communication is better for the environment than paper.
“That’s why Two Sides continues to engage organisations that are making misleading and unsubstantiated environmental claims such as “Go Green, Go Paperless” in a bid to encourage their customers to switch to digital communications. These statements are not just misleading but also are hugely damaging to an industry that employs 640,000 people in Europe (105,000 UK), in more than 112,000 businesses (7,400 UK).”
Two Sides is a not-for-profit global initiative promoting the unique, sustainable and attractive attributes of print, paper and paper packaging. Its members span the entire print, paper and packaging value chain, including forestry, pulp, paper, packaging, inks and chemicals, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal operators.