Promotions: Are print flyers becoming obsolete?


Photo-flyer study

Getting products listed at retailers can be a challenge, and that is only the beginning. Keeping them on-shelf and getting them into shopping carts requires ongoing advertising and promotions that may include ad placement in store flyers.

With the emergence of digital flyers, it’s not unreasonable to expect print flyers to become extinct. However, a study of over 1,800 Ontario consumers by BrandSpark International (commissioned by Metroland Media) tells a different story.

Print flyers are very much alive, as demonstrated by these survey results:

  • They get into more hands, with 84% of shoppers reading them, compared to 56% checking out digital flyers. And consumers spend 63% of the time with print flyers, compared to 26% with online and 11% with email.
  • Surprisingly, a majority of digitally addicted smart phone and tablet users (79% of moms, 67% of millennials and 73% of men) actually prefer print flyers to digital.
  • Print is considered to have more value and a greater emotional connection, with more Ontarians scheduling time to read them in a relaxed setting and sharing them socially.
  • Print and digital are complementary, with 57% of consumers using both mediums.
  • Supermarket flyers are the most widely read of all retail channels with 86% of respondents reading print or online grocery flyers on a weekly basis.
What’s the attraction?

Flyers enable shoppers to make decisions, use their time more efficiently and manage their budgets. They help evaluate the best options by revealing what brands and products are available, the features, benefits and prices, and where they can be purchased. Digital formats provide printable shopping lists, exclusive coupons, promotions and links to product information.

For brand owners, flyers can raise brand and product awareness and drive trial by influencing purchase decisions. In fact, 85% of shoppers buy the same product they planned to buy before entering the store.

To reach target customers, distribution of print flyers and product samples can be targeted by store locations, demographics and government statistical data.

For new product launches, flyers provide visibility to get products noticed. 73% of shoppers use flyers to learn about new products and 69% of women discovered a product of which they were not aware.

Recipe for success

Spending on print and digital flyers can be an effective tactic, as part of an integrated marketing plan that may include instore sampling and point-of-sale materials, coupons, social media, web and print and broadcast media, depending on the budget.

But there are a lot of moving parts. Provided that the product, price, distribution zone and timing are right, and product is available in store, flyers can generate incremental sales and profit.

Perhaps print flyers will become extinct when Generation Z eclipses the Millennials. In the meantime, they remain popular with consumers, manufacturers and retailers alike.

BrandSpark Infographic: Flyer Adoption and Usage Patterns

As a packaged foods specialist, Birgit Blain transforms food into retail-ready products. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw Brands and President’s Choice®. Contact her at Check out this recent rebranding project.

© Birgit Blain

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