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It's all here in black and white. Despite the millions of dollars advertisers spend on Super Bowl commercials and the countless hours they devote to create flashy Web banners and electronic coupons, two-thirds (63 percent) of American adults say that newspapers remain their primary source for shopping and advertising information, according to a new study. And while it's true that older demographic groups make more loyal newspaper readers than younger groups, advertisers take note: Almost double the percentage of young consumers (ages 18 to 24) turn to the newspaper (35 percent) than turn to the Internet (18 percent) for advertising information.

The study, released in January, was commissioned by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and conducted by Minneapolis-based MORI Research, Inc. and Tolley Research, Inc. of West Hartford, Conn. Phone interviews and focus groups with 4,005 adults were used to determine readership patterns and differences in usage of various types of newspaper advertising: preprinted inserts, coupons and ROP — “run of press� ads that appear alongside content. Results were weighted to reflect U.S. demographics.

It is old news that older folks read the paper with more devotion than do their younger counterparts — 69 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and 73 percent of those 55 and older use the newspaper most often to check advertising, compared with 55 percent of the 25- to 34-year-olds. Also not surprising is the fact that the youngest group is the most likely to use the Internet to learn about new products and sales.

However, considering that young consumers turn to newspapers rather than to the Internet for the latest in sales, advertisers may want to take a second look at the medium and at how younger consumers' newspaper habits differ from those of older demographic groups. “The 18- to 24-year-olds see newspaper advertising differently than older readers. The ads are as much a reason they get the paper as content,� claims John Kimball, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the NAA. “They see advertising as news.� For example, unlike older adults, who look at newspaper ads most often on Sunday, younger adults tend to check ads most often on Friday and Saturday, when newspapers feature entertainment listings, restaurant reviews and movie show times.

Hunting for bargains is the prime reason younger adults use newspapers. A quarter of 18- to 24-year-old respondents say they regularly read ROP, and 66 percent say they do so to check out what's on sale, compared with 62 percent of respondents 55 and older.

For more information, call John Kimball at at (703) 902-1600 or e-mail him [email protected].


Although more older Americans than their younger counterparts turn to newspapers for advertising information, the paper is still the No. 1 place that 18- to 24-year-olds go for product and sales information.


MEDIA 18-24 25-34 35-54 55+
Newspapers 35% 55% 69% 73%
Direct mail 12% 14% 11% 8%
Internet 18% 14% 6% 3%
Television 17% 8% 6% 5%
Magazines 12% 5% 3% 4%
Note: Number may not sum to 100 percent because not all answers are shown.
Source: Newspaper Association of America
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