FedEx Office Survey reveals enduring preference for printed materials

A new survey released by FexEx Office, a leading provider of printing, packing and shipping services, shows that U.S. consumers and small business owners prefer tangible, printed materials, despite an increasingly digital and on-demand society. More than 9 in 10 consumers agreed there will always be a need for printed materials, with almost half (49%) of those surveyed saying a world without paper would make them feel stressed or annoyed. The online survey was conducted February 15-21, 2018 by polling firm PSB and included 800 participants who were a nationally representative sample of U.S. general population consumers. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46%.

In the survey, FedEx Office explored the opinions of consumers and small business owners to learn more about their preferences and purchasing habits regarding professional printing services. Key findings included:

  • 70% of respondents reported having items professionally printed the same amount or more than in the previous year. This was particularly true for millennials – a segment of consumers that makes purchasing decisions via social media and who are more comfortable and savvy in the digital world than previous generations.
  • Despite the familiarity with digital, nearly half of millennial respondents (ages 18-34) reported having something professionally printed at least once a month.
  • Nine in 10 of consumers and small business owners agreed that they “like to have the option to have printed materials” and preferred reading materials on paper (especially official documents and contracts) versus on a digital screen.

Survey participants who were small business owners said that having materials printed professionally reflects positively on their business, and consumers agreed:

  • 85% of consumers said they’re more likely to shop with a small business that has custom/professionally printed materials – such as business cards, signs, flyers or banners.
  • Four out of five small business owners said that professional printing services can help their businesses stand out from their competition.
  • Nine in 10 consumers agreed that the quality of printed materials is an indication of the quality of service provided by a business.
Brian Philips.
Brian Philips.

“In an increasingly digital world, where tablets, computers, phones and TVs are our main sources for consuming and engaging with information, FedEx Office recognizes the importance of print – from helping business owners succeed to assisting students in reaching their project goals, and everything in between,” said Brian Philips, President and CEO of FedEx Office. “Along with the continued use of printing services, individuals polled in this survey said price, convenience and customer service are most important to them when deciding where to print. FedEx Office excels in these target areas to not only meet, but exceed in meeting the needs of our customers,” he added.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.