About 1 in 4 American Adults Buys Print Newspapers

March 16, 2023

The internet has precipitated the decline of the physical newspaper, but some Americans continue the classic habit of buying a print copy. According to data from YouGov, 23% of American adults currently buy physical newspapers.

Still, the extent to which physical newspapers have ceded to digital news is apparent when considering that fully 60% of adults surveyed said they used to buy physical newspapers but no longer do so. Just 15% said they had never bought a physical newspaper. Separate forecasts from PwC call for print circulation revenues to fall by 2.1% per annum from 2022 through 2026, while digital circulation revenues – such as through subscriptions – show promise at a forecast 6.73% compound annual growth rate during that period.

The decline in print circulation is obviously affecting the print newspaper advertising market, which fell by 5.6% last year and is predicted to decline by 6% this year.

Almost half of the weekly print newspaper readership audience is ages 55 and older, according to a MarketingCharts study, and this age skew is reflected in YouGov’s survey results. While just 11% of adults ages 18-29 say they currently buy physical newspapers, that figure rises to 20% of adults ages 30-44 and 22% of those ages 45-64 before jumping to 37% of those ages 65 and older.

The survey also investigated other “classic activities” that Americans are still doing versus have never done before. Here are a few select results:

  • 55% currently send letters in the mail, compared to 7% who never have
  • 53% use a physical calendar to keep track of plans, versus 9% who never have
  • 45% own a handheld calculator; 7% never have
  • 41% watch DVDs, versus 6% who never have
  • 40% listen to music on a CD, compared to 5% who never have
  • 24% use a physical ledger to keep track of financial transactions, while 30% never have
  • 23% still mail postcards, versus 17% who never have
  • 23% use a physical road map to get somewhere, against 16% who never have
  • 20% send faxes, equal to the 20% who never have
  • 15% use a phone book to look up a number; 11% never have
  • 11% own a mobile phone that can’t access the internet, versus 20% who never have
  • 10% record videos on a video camera that uses film; 32% never have
  • 10% listen to music on a cassette, while 11% never have
  • 5% use a pager, against 50% who never have
  • 5% use a floppy disc on a computer (!), versus 16% who never have.

For more, check out the full survey results here.

About the Data: The results are based on surveys conducted in December 2022 among 2,000 US adults (18+).


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