They were born in a digital era, these Gen Y Millennials who have grown up surrounded by technology. So you may be surprised to learn they have a marked preference for print in everything from consumer advertising to textbooks.
Printing Industries of America recapped some of the recent studies that bear this out.
- Gen Y favors traditional ads to online messages. According to “The Value of Print Flip Book” (jam packed with great stats on print’s effectiveness), “the new digital generation—teens, ages 12 to 17—generally have more favorable attitudes toward print, radio, and TV ads, than online ads.”
- They prefer print for their text books. In spite of predictions that electronic text books would rise sharply in the past few years, that just hasn’t happened. Several recent studies show that college students prefer printed texts and “crave the tangible effectiveness printed textbooks afford.” It appears that they appreciate being able to take notes and highlight on a printed page. And anecdotal evidence tells us that the students who do use digital text books often print them out to study from.
- Brown University, whose administrators expect to eventually transition completely to digital textbooks, reports that only 0.5% of their bookstore revenue comes from the digital side. According to Steven Souza, the bookstore’s director, “Students [currently] seem to have zero interest in [eTexts].”
Printed materials have been shown to resonate more deeply with our brains, and this could account for a large part of its popularity with students.
As the PIA article asserts, “There are some people who can read a digital page and understand the context with clarity; however, it seems that print allows for ‘deep reading,’ where the reader can absorb knowledge at a level that is not as common with electronic media.”
Regardless of their reasons, these Millenials are the future customers that marketers will be targeting, and print looks to remain a critical part of the marketing mix for at least a generation to come.