It should come as no surprise that more and more people are shifting their once offline activities to online activities. This is true for things like shopping, reading newspapers, keeping in touch with friends and family. In fact, you are even reading you are even checking on your industry virtually by reading this online blog. This trend has numerous meanings for the printing industry which affects book printing, magazine printing, creating marketing communications, and… printed bills and statements. Scary stuff for the printing industry! But, is this shift actually as prevalent as we think it is?
According to a massive 2011 InfoTrends study, the shift is taking place slower than anticipated. In fact, only 11% of American consumers receive their bills electronically. While there is a push on the part of billers to move billing and payments online, the vast majority of customers still prefer a printed statement. That is the good news for printers. However, younger generations between the ages of 18-24 seem to have adapted most to online billing and payments, which may suggest that future generations will do the same.
What does this mean for printers? It means that they don’t need to panic yet. But they do need to keep an eye on the future and whether or not this trend of online activity continues to shift. In all likeliness, it will. Unless printers can come up with creative reasons why the printed piece is more powerful. With the increases in variable data printing capabilities, printed statements can act as a personal and impactful touch point with customers that the online experience may not fully provide. A printed statement can be an opportunity to inform, educate, and promote. This is especially important when considering that, according to InfoTrends, printed statements are still the best way to cut through the clutter of communications.
So don’t give up on the printed statement! Think of it as a challenge to capture emerging generations. Could this be a new resolution for 2013??