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Almost half of US households engage with at least 8 different print and digital sources of information about products and sales, reveals Nielsen in a recent data release. Digital touchpoints are unsurprisingly on the rise, but traditional print ones remain widely used.

In fact, 85% of households surveyed this year report using print circulars delivered to the home, and 79% use print circulars distributed in stores. Print circulars’ popularity hasn’t waned much, either: use of these marketing touchpoints has dipped by only 3-4% points since 2014.

Circulars are not only popular – but also broadly effective in consumers’ eyes. Survey results released late last year found that store circulars were the most influential types of ads encouraging consumers to shop in-store rather than online. Consumers also have pointed to different types of circulars as being their most influential types of local media advertising.

Nonetheless, digital channels are rising quickly. In particular, at least three-quarters of households now use store websites (77%) and store emails (75%) for product information, with these trending in the opposite direction to print circulars.

By 2019, Nielsen forecasts that these digital touchpoints will have wider reach than print circulars.

Social media and various apps are seeing the strongest growth, breaking into the mainstream in the past few years.

For example, the use of store apps and money-saving apps has ballooned by more than 20% points since 2014, up to 56% and 52% of households, respectively. Meanwhile, more than half (52%) now use social media to look at information about products and sales available at stores.

As expected, Millennials are the generation most likely to engage with digital touchpoints, per the report. But, the analysts caution, Gen Xers are showing the fastest adoption of digital channels. Previous research has found that not only are Gen Xers more likely to own the digital device trio (smartphones, tablets and PCs) than Millennials, but that they also spend more time with social media than their younger counterparts.

So FMCG retailers should not discount Gen Xers in their digital marketing touchpoints. Nor should they ignore Baby Boomers, who are also rapidly adopting digital touchpoints for shopping information.

For now, a mix that favors print as the cornerstone and then mixes in digital touchpoints appears to be the best approach, according to the release, which can be accessed here.

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