THE MYTH:

Digital is always the preferred means of communication

THE FACT:

Many consumers still value paper-based communication

Consumer Choice

Many consumers still value paper-based communication

Many organisations, banks, utilities, telecoms and governments are now increasingly going online or making charges if their customers wish to receive paper-based communication. 

But switching to digital is not always welcome.

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

Two Sides understand the value and convenience of the digital revolution but believe that citizens must continue to have a right to receive paper-based communications, particularly bills and statements, without penalties, supplementary charges or difficulty.

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

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 older people, the disabled, rural dwellers and those on low incomes disconnected.

“The access to basic banking services and traditional means of payment, such as cash payments or paper-based transactions, must become a universal right.” 
Evelyn Gebhardt, MEP, European Foundation for Financial Inclusion, May 2013

  • 19% of European households don’t have access to the interneti
  • Only 18% of rural areas in the EU have 30 mbps broadbandii
  • 43% of those connected to the internet said that speeds were insufficientiii

“60% of citizens would not choose a company which does not offer a paper bill.”
Keep Me Posted EU, 2014

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

84% of people believe that they understand and can retain or use information much better when they read print on paper
Two Sides and Toluna, 2015

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 of any digital planning.


i Eurostat, 2014
ii European Commission, May 2013
iii Eurobarometer, Jan 2014