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It’s Not All Smartphones and Social Media: Why Millennials Love Print

September 6, 2018 In Marketing Tips

When you think about the most common stereotypes of the millennial generation, what are the first characteristics that come to mind? If you’re like most of the world, you probably thought: tech-savvy, social media-obsessed and constantly connected.

If you agree, a recent Pew Research study might surprise you. Contrary to widely held beliefs, people aged 18 to 29 have the highest print readership of any age group. You better believe it – millennials love print!

We were a bit shocked ourselves. So we dug deeper to find out why.

For one, millennials just plain prefer paper for practical reasons. In a TNS Research survey of young adults aged 16 to 26, 65% of respondents said it was easier for them to review or read something on paper than on a screen. While millennials consider digital to be more accessible and environmentally friendly, they still heavily favor print when reading books (78%), magazines (71%) and newspapers (52%).

Millennials have been over-saturated with digital content. They’ve spent their entire adult lives surrounded by technology and online media. Print is an escape from the constant digital messages bombarding them all day.

Along those same lines, there’s an emotional factor to millennials’ print preferences. They report having a stronger emotional connection to print media than digital. Millennials are the last generation to remember a childhood without cell phones or social media, and print media takes them back to a simpler and easier time. A survey conducted by an expert panel at South by Southwest, a film, music and media festival, found millennials to be the most nostalgic generation. They appreciate the thought and effort print materials require.

Millennials also rely on print to provide trustworthy information. Tech-savvy millennials know how easy it is to publish information online. As a result, 77% consider digital to be less trustworthy because it can be altered with very little effort or fact-checking required, while paper materials feel more concrete and official.

If your next marketing campaign is targeting millennials, avoid the temptation to assume digital is the obvious route. Print can still be a refreshing and highly effective tool to reach younger demographics.

The next time you hear a conversation about those tech-savvy millennials, don’t forget to add in a few new facts you learned today. I’m sure the millennials out there will appreciate a few good words about their generation.

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