This article by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General looks at trends and customer preferences for transactional mail, which mainly consists of household bills and payments. USPS collaborated with InfoTrends to analyze customer billing data from a major U.S. utility. Results show that 91% of customers prefer receiving their bills by physical mail. And even among the utility’s newest customers — those expected to be more tech savvy — an average of 89% prefer to have their bills mailed to them, though, like the others, most of them prefer to pay online.
Why People Like Physical Mail
People like having a physical mail piece as a reminder to pay and as a record-keeping tool. However one thing consumers almost everywhere want is choices in just about everything, including bill delivery and payment. This means companies offering a variety of bill delivery and payment options can help keep customers happy.
Airbnb Launches Paper Magazine
Another interesting example of how paper is still popular is the recent decision by Airbnb, the rental accommodation platform, to launch a 128-page paper magazine. This quarterly entitled “Pineapple” focuses on 3 main travel destinations London, San Francisco and Seoul. A total of 18,000 copies are distributed free to individuals offering homes for sale, and at events where Airbnb is a partner. Pineapple, a glossy coffee table piece, is also available for sale on Airbnb’s website.
“A couple of years ago we mapped out the user journey of the experience of Airbnb hosts, guests and travelers,” said Andrew Schapiro, head of brand creative at Airbnb. “The realization is the majority of experience [after booking online] is offline in people’s homes or neighborhoods around the world. So it was a natural transition to tell stories in a printed format. We see the magazine living in people’s homes on their coffee table.”
Amazon Spain Launches Paper Catalog
Amazon Spain has also decided to pass from digital to physical communications, with the launch of its first catalog of products in November 2014, with a circulation of 230,000 copies and over 100 pages covering over 500 different items.
According to this article from UNLOCKPWD most of the items are toys, and as we all know lots of people want to buy toys at the end of the year. The aim of this first catalog from Amazon is to reach all those buyers who have not yet been encouraged to make online purchases. François Nuyts, CEO of Amazon Spain has stated “Spanish families will discover that there is a new way of doing holiday shopping: from home, with no queues or waiting.”
92% of College Students Prefer Reading Print Books to E-Readers
Finally this article by Alice Robb from New Republic explains that despite the popularity of e-books in certain markets, they prove to be controversial. Many people simply don’t like them. People complain because they run out of battery, they hurt your eyes, they don’t work in the bath. Following years of growth, sales are deteriorating. In 2014, 65% of 6 to 17-year-old kids confirmed that they would always want to read printed books—up from 60% two years earlier.
According to the article Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University, brings more weight to the case for print. Ms. Baron and her team questioned over 300 university students in the U.S., Japan, Germany, and Slovakia, and their research found an overwhelming preference for print, especially when it comes to serious reading. When the students surveyed were given a choice of various media—including hard copy, cell phone, tablet, e-reader, and laptop—92% said they could concentrate best in hard copy.