I know what you’re thinking as you roll your eyes: Another blog written by a person in print telling you to “choose print, buy print!” I get it, but in all honesty, I am not the only millennial who feels this way. In my house, I have two young kids. Print is king! We read books, color in coloring books, and make posters for lemonade stands. I try to limit their screen time (in reality, that’s easier said than done). When you have to concentrate and need a few minutes of quiet time, handing the phone over seems like a good option.
And this is exactly why I wrote about this topic. Listen to this amazing story.
One day when I was watching my kids play, my two-year-old son took my phone, unlocked it, swiped to find the folder labeled with his name (he can’t read yet) and launched his games. WHAT?! My mouth just about hit the floor. (I have never given him my phone to open it by himself before.) Seriously, this is the society we live in? Where kids can operate a phone before the age of two but cannot tie their shoes? I was stunned and knew I couldn’t be the only parent whose child did this. I do not want my kids growing up in a society where their faces are buried in their phones. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the kids who were texting while riding their bikes down the street yesterday. When I did some research I was happy to find that although many young kids are distracted by technologies and all that it offers, millennials – although they get a bad rap for being lazy, unmotivated digital natives – were still very much infatuated with print.
Millennials and Generation Z have been dubbed the generations of digital. They are constantly “Snapping” their friends, taking pictures for Instagram, Tweeting about anything and everything, but they do have strong admiration for print.
Research shows that the average 18 to 31-year-old checks their phone 150 times a day (no, that’s not a typo, A DAY!) while 67 percent of millennials say they would rather read a magazine or book in print form rather than on an iPad. I was shocked when I read these conflicting statistics, but after a little bit of thought it made sense. Millennials today are attached to their mobile devices 24/7. They are checking Facebook, answering emails, texting, talking on the phone, etc. When it comes time to unwinding and relaxing, though, they want to do it screen-free. These generations love the tangible element of print. I think many marketers assume that because millennials and Generation Zs are so well connected on social media and other digital platforms that they automatically want their news, magazines, books, etc. digitally. Not true. These misunderstood digital natives go out of their way to choose print for certain areas of their life that they could easily use a mobile device for. So if the generations that we think only love digital media ARE choosing print, maybe some of the marketers that jumped on the bandwagon heralding “print is dead” might want to jump off.
Print will ALWAYS have a part in the marketing mix – even to the most digital-loving generation of them all. Now, if we could just work on those two-year-olds who know how to operate phones to choose print more often…