The future of the printed flyer remains a contested topic – definitely in Germany but I am sure in other places as well. Some high-profile retailers recently ditched their printed flyers and supplements, or announced plans to do so. The claim is to be more environmentally friendly and better serve the changing interest of their customers. Proof is missing for both claims. At least on customers usage and preferences some new market research has been completed by the German research institute IFH. The first part has just been published.
Not surprisingly the consumers quizzed tend to use both, digital and printed media, although with higher shares still for printed media. Advertising papers and supplements, often found in the mailbox, remain not only the top printed channel but the top channel overall. Even simple flyers are popular. Also, a bundle of flyers, ad supplements and a magazine, distributed by post as door-drop and called “Einkaufaktuell”, is a frequently used media. Newspapers and mailings do follow.
The top online channel used are pages or apps of digital marketplaces, like those offered by Amazon or Ebay for example. This is at best a mixed blessing for the supporters of online channels, as retail chains are surely not too excited to have their customers browsing on marketplace web pages. Online newsletters apps or websites from retailers rank lower in usage.
In essence the study confirms older research by the Austrian Post, that retail flyers are the most amiable and most frequently used type of media before buying decisions.
There are more interesting findings in the study. Broken down by age groups there is a slight preference for online channels by younger consumers – but only to a minor degree. Even here print leads on online. Accordingly, the media preferences are not going to shift swiftly – as timelines in the research demonstrate as well.
Moreover, about a third of the consumers do use a retail app today. Which in turn suggests that a majority has not made the move yet – or never will. A major reason for not installing retail apps is not being happy about user data being stored and analysed. Also, the multitude of apps and a perceived lack of usefulness are major reasons for shunning apps.
Printed flyers remain a contested topic as marketers nowadays tend to push digital channels and occasionally seem to feel a need to face-lift their marketing or chart new paths. Engagement data does not confirm the useful of that direction, however. Nevertheless, advertising print will remain under pressure. Print is perceived as more impactful to the environment, although I have not seen a lifecycle and environmental impact research yet. Recent shortages in paper and rising prices did not help either. The more important it is to show the benefits and acceptance of print among consumers like this research does.
The results of the study (in German) can be downloaded here