Consumers Want The Right To Choose How They Receive Their Communications. Latest Study Reveals (

There is a worrying trend from organisations who increasingly want to move their customer communications online, particularly bills and statements. Typically, this decision is made for cost reasons, but misleading claims about the environment are being used all too often instead. This is commonly referred to as Greenwashing.

A study, conducted by the not-for-profit organisation Two Sides and independent research company Toluna, aims to understand changing consumer perceptions towards print and paper. The study found that consumers overwhelmingly want the right to choose how they receive their communications (digitally or printed) from organisations. 76% of UK consumers (74% EU) want this choice.

Defaulting people online without a choice to save cost, will impact those most vulnerable and at risk in our communities. In the UK, 6.3% of all adults have never used the internet (Office of National Statistics, 2020). Often, it is the most vulnerable members of society that depend on traditional, postal, transactional mail. The move to an online only society risks leaving older people, the disabled, rural dwellers and those on low incomes disconnected.

Alongside the right to choose, consumers are also demanding that they are not penalised for selecting paper communication. 58% of UK consumers (54% EU) agree that they should not be charged more for choosing a paper bill or statement. Furthermore, organisations must be careful when forcing their customers online. If a UK consumer were forced to move to digital by their current service providers, 32% (29% EU) would consider switching to an alternative provider.

In a society where everything happens online, organisations are in danger of thinking that digital is always the preferred option. However, this isn’t always the case. 59% of UK consumers (55% EU) are increasingly concerned that their personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged. Over 55-year-olds are the most concerned (64%), however, a large number of younger people have the same worry (58% of 25-34 year olds).

Furthermore, even if a consumer is moved to digital bills and statements, it rarely stays “paperless”. 59% of UK consumers (47% EU) regularly print out hard copies at home if they want a hard copy.

It cannot be denied that digital is having an impact on how we communicate but the growing dependence on digital brings its own challenges. The survey reveals that getting away from digital devices is more important than ever. 45% of UK consumers (46% EU) are concerned about how digital devices may be damaging their health and 43% agree (49% EU) they spend too much time on their devices.
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