Inkjet & Digital Printing

Generation Print

Thursday 18. March 2021 - Generation Z and Millennials are now the biggest consumer group in history according to Forbes. That should give all of us pause for thought. Aged between around 18 and 42 they are invariably digital natives and never far from an electronic device.

By John Blyth, Marketing and Communications Manager, Commercial and Industrial Printing Group, Ricoh Europe
However connected and engaged they are with online communications, they still place a high value on print and in particular the following three media:
Magazines are Britain’s most trusted source of news, across all generations according to The 2019 Ofcom News Consumption Survey. In America, market and consumer data provider Statista reports that 33% of Millennials have an active subscription to a newspaper or magazine. The ability to touch and scan pages, consume information that can be relied on and take a screen break to combat digital fatigue is a powerful combination.
Some magazines have recently seen renewed interest in their printed versions. The Harvard Business Review’s decision to reduce its annual print frequency from ten to six issues led to a 10% increase in subscribers. Editor-in-Chief Adi Ignatius attributed that growth to smart positioning, creative new digital benefits, and heavier investment in content. During the pandemic subscriptions even increased. When Bonnier Publishing reduced the frequency of its magazine Popular Science from monthly to quarterly, changed paper stock, and increased the cost of subscriptions it saw a 30% year-over-year increase in subscription yield. Mixing a high quality product with unmissable content proved very successful.
Millennials are the most voracious readers according to Lachlan Brown, founder and editor of blog Best by the Numbers. Something Statista confirmed with its figures reporting 74% of Millennials read printed books.
Lachlan asserted that every generation prefers physical books over digital ones and, despite the pandemic affecting publishers, a strong appetite for books remains as it has encouraged all generations – especially Generation Z – to read more than ever.
Direct mail
It is also interesting to see how direct mail is preferred over digital mail by 32% of young individuals. That is according to Royal Mail in Great Britain’s research into how generations interact with mail. Additionally, 66% stated they were more likely to remember to use a voucher if they had a physical copy and 38% were more likely to look at mail printed on high quality materials. Direct mail also successfully drives traffic to online shops – especially when combined with discount codes redeemable at the checkout. Often the customer journey starts with a piece of personalised direct mail that leads to visits to physical retailers. Direct mail is such a trusted medium that Google has integrated personalised postcards into its verification process for new registrations. They are sent to the business address and help collect actual data about business locations.
Generation Z is engaged by tailored communications. Gen Zers see shopping as an expression of their values according to Facebook IQ’s Meet the Future: Gen Z’s Regeneration. They prize efficiency and convenience and expect brands to appear where they are, and they like the right products to find them.
McKinsey research confirmed that Generation Z and Millennials are not only eager for more personalised products but are willing to pay a premium for products that highlight their individuality.
This desire for targeted communication combined with their digital intelligence makes Generation Z and Millennials open to omnichannel communication. Their love of books and magazines presents other ways to engage.
All very fascinating. What does it mean though to a hard pressed Print Service Provider?
Well, it means that your clients, particularly those who depend on successful routes to engaging with younger consumers and buyers (and, frankly, most of them are because the cohort is huge as I highlighted earlier) should be putting print at the heart of their marketing strategies. And yes, certainly in combination with digital marketing approaches. You have a new conversation starter and can raise the idea of exploring together opportunities to align print and online communications to connect and resonate with the generation that loves print.
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