Newspapers Are Primary Shopping Medium for Most Americans

Newspapers Are Primary Shopping Medium for Most Americans

According to research by MORI Research for the Newspaper Association of America, almost two-thirds of American adults actively check advertising at least weekly for things they might want to buy, but they are selective about when and where they check advertising.

(A Note on Terms: The terms "inserts," "free-standing inserts," "FSIs," and "preprints" are used more or less interchangeably in the industry. In this report "inserts" and "preprints" refer to newspaper formats of this advertising.)

Sunday is by far the most likely day for about one half of shoppers to consult advertising, while Saturday is a distant second, noted by one-fifth of consumers. The only other days in double figures are Wednesday and Friday, at 13 percent each.

Despite readership declines, newspapers are, by a substantial margin, the leading destination for people interested in checking advertising and shopping information. This pattern is consistent across several indicators, including:

  • Usage of different media in both the previous 7 days and previous 30 days
  • Primary shopping and advertising information source among media in general
  • Primary shopping and advertising source for major store categories individually
  • Preferred media source for preprint delivery, and
  • Preferred media source for nongrocery coupons.

For example, notes the report summary,

  • 53 percent of adults used newspapers to make a shopping or purchase decision in the previous 30 days, while 27 percent used the Internet, which now is the second-leading source.
  • Even within the high-income ($100K+) shoppers, almost one-half say that newspapers are their primary shopping medium, compared with one third who rely on the Internet.
  • A plurality among those age 18-24 consider the Internet to be their primary advertising source, but reliance on newspapers (including preprints) jumps markedly among the 25-34 age group who are married with children.

Some of the response regarding preprint reading includes:

  • Newspaper-insert usage remains substantial. Almost half (46 percent) of adults used newspaper preprints in the previous week for shopping planning, as did 64 percent in the past 30 days. Threefourths of adults (77 percent) read preprints at least occasionally
  • Insert readership is especially strong among women and primary household shoppers (who tend to be women). Men, however, lead on some store categories. Minority adults, especially African Americans, also are consistently above average in reading preprints
  • Newspaper readers (48 percent) say they look through most inserts. Other readers divide about equally between looking at inserts from their regular stores, plus a few others, and looking at only those from their regular stores.
  • Almost one-half (45 percent) of newspaper-preprint readers have played the advocate role in the previous 30 days by suggesting to friends or relatives that they look at a particular insert. Almost as many (41 percent) took an insert with them while shopping in the past month
  • Preprint readers keep their preprints for an average of four days.
  • Readership of preprints by direct mail is considerably lower than it is for newspapers: 29 percent in the past 7 days and 46 percent in the past 30 days. Consumers also prefer newspaper delivery over direct mail by a more than two-to-one margin. Sunday subscribers feel especially strongly about this
  • The leading occasions for using preprints are for checking sales or when one is in the market to buy something (three-fourths of readers). Two-thirds of readers like to browse even when they are not looking for anything in particular, while around one-half use inserts to plan their regular shopping.
  • Regarding preferred page size for preprints, 37 percent favor newsweekly size, 30 percent favor tabloids, and 20 percent like broadsheets. On the other hand, preference for glossy pages over newsprint is robust.
  • Eight-page inserts are preferred over 24-pages by a two-to-one margin, while very small groups of consumers prefer larger options.
  • Newspaper Web site users, who tend to be among the most active online shoppers, favor printed inserts over online versions by a two-to-one margin, which suggests that online preprints are not as convenient or easy to use.

Almost two-thirds of American adults say they "check out advertising or shopping information for things you might want to buy" at least weekly, with 1 in 5 adults conducting this search daily and another 42 percent saying less often, but at least weekly.

  • Women (68 percent) lead men (56 percent) in each age group. Primary household shoppers (who tend to be women) also are high at 67 percent. For both genders, regular ad checking increases slowly with age, with the 55+ group leading the 18-to-34 group by 10 points. Middle-income adults (65 percent) are somewhat higher on this measure compared with those above $100,000 or below $35,000 (both at 59 percent)
  • Newspaper reading in general drives advertising usage. For example, 71 percent of frequent weekday readers (4-6 issues per week) consult advertising weekly, compared with 61 percent among those who read less often, and only 47 percent for nonreaders

For more complete information, please visit here for the PDF report.

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