Access for All: American Attitudes Regarding Paper & Digital Information

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Access for All: American Attitudes Regarding Paper & Digital Information

Consumers for Paper Options, a coalition of individuals and organizations advocating for the right to paper-based communications, commissioned InfoTrends to research attitudes on paper-based versus digital communication.  The study focused on efforts by the government and private sector to transition consumers to digital formats, while eliminating paper formats or charging fees for paper communications by mail. 

Main conclusions are as follows:

  • An overwhelming majority of American adults across all demographic groups believe that consumers should not be forced to receive information in an electronic format.
  • Americans with Internet access of all ages and ethnicities believe the government should take action to prevent shifts to electronic formats from hurting the disadvantaged.
  • More than 90 percent of young people share the belief that paper options should be preserved, and more than half prefer to receive paper bills and statements.

Many financial institutions, insurance companies and other businesses are discouraging, eliminating or charging for the use of paper-format information, and the survey asked questions to measure attitudes toward private-sector efforts to reduce paper consumption.  A majority of respondents replied that it is not OK for companies to send bills, statements and informational documents in electronic format only, and 69 percent of respondents replied that private-sector companies should not be allowed to force people to shift from paper-format bills and statements to electronic or digital format for action requiring documents.

This research was generated from a web-based survey conducted among U.S. residents ages 18 and over. Respondents were drawn randomly from a pool of several million consumer panelists. The sample mirrors the age, gender and income demographics of the U.S. population as reported by the Bureau of the Census.

InfoTrends was also charged with conducting secondary research on American household that do not have Internet access and found:

  • More than 25 percent of American households have no regular Internet access.
  • Seniors, women, minority groups and low-income households are less likely to have Internet access.
  • The digital divide is more prevalent in rural areas, where Americans are 6 percent less likely than the national average to have Internet access.
  • Education also plays a role in Internet adoption – Americans with a lower level of education are far less likely to have Internet access.

Click here for the full report.