3 questions (and answers) that unpack how shoppers use printed promotions in 2022

November 22, 2022
Rebecca Wine profile picture
Simon E. Pagaard
  • Printed promotions are a tried-and-true retail marketing tactic
  • But the price of printing and distribution is skyrocketing
  • Should retailers decrease printing or double down?
  • To answer that, retailers must understand the usage of print by asking shoppers directly

Printed promotions, such as catalogs and leaflets, have for a long time been one of the primary tactics to expose your brand to thousands of shoppers, and keep them aware of what you offer.

However, printing and distribution of print is extremely expensive. And the recent supply chain issues and inflation are only making it worse.

Naturally, some retailers are considering reducing or dropping print, but may be unsure of the potential consequences because of limited knowledge about how much printed promotions are used.

To enable retailers to make informed decisions based on real-world feedback, we asked more than 7.000 shoppers in eight European countries about their usage of printed promotions in the European Shopper Survey 2022.

Here are three of the main questions and answers that can help retailers understand the usage of printed promotions in 2022:

Question 1: How many shoppers are using printed catalogs and leaflets in 2022?

Answer 1: Printed catalogs and leaflets are used more than you might think

In 2022 printed promotions are still being widely used by shoppers:

A graph showing how often shoppers use printed catalogs and leaflets

Almost half of the respondents (48%) say that they use printed promotions on a weekly basis and 73% of shoppers use them more than once a month. Only 10% of respondents answered that they never use them.

So, despite the growing shift from offline to digital channels by retailers, the results show that today's shoppers still have printed catalogs and leaflets deeply rooted in their shopping journey.

Question 2: Are shoppers using printed promotions equally for different product categories?

Answer 2: Catalogs and leaflets are used to plan the weekly groceries, and as monthly inspiration

There are clear differences in how often printed catalogs and leaflets are used for different product categories:

A graph showing for which product categories shoppers use promotions

Printed leaflets are used by 57% of shoppers to plan their weekly trip to the supermarket, which is by far the most often out of any category. On a monthly basis, the usage is more equal across categories.

Looking at the findings for weekly and monthly usage combined, it shows that at least a third of shoppers use printed promotions a minimum of once a month, no matter the product category.

Question 3: Do printed promotions still affect shopper behavior?

Answer 3: Printed promotions dictate what and where shoppers will buy

Printed promotions affect shopping behavior to a large extent:  

A graph showing the purpose of shoppers use of printed catalogs and leaflets

More than 2/3 of shoppers use printed catalogs and leaflets to get inspiration and ideas on what products to buy, and to compare and evaluate prices.

61% use printed catalogs and leaflets to determine which stores to visit, while “only” 53% use them for stores they already plan on visiting.

The numbers show the impact of printed catalogs and leaflets on shopping behavior and decisions.

Where do retailers go from here?

Despite the usage and effect of printed promotions, many retailers will still seriously consider dropping printed promotions, or at least reducing the number of copies.

But the answers presented here are just the beginning to ensuring a smooth digital transformation away from print.

Additional questions need to be answered, like…

What are shoppers’ concerns and perceived benefits of switching from print to digital?  

Would they miss printed promotions or be able to find the same information online?

Without knowledge of how shoppers would react to the death of print, retailers would be risking brand loyalty and revenue by doing so.

Of course, we also asked the shoppers those questions: Download the full European Shopper Survey 2022 here to get all the answers!  

The European Shopper Survey 2022 seeks to identify retail consumer trends in Europe. The findings focus on the consequences and benefits of shifting from printed promotions to digital for shoppers. This knowledge can enable retailers to make more informed decisions based on real-world feedback.

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