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Large-scale survey reveals how today’s consumers use different media

Awareness of changes and trends, coupled with knowledge of how consumers actually behave, makes it easier to steer in the right direction, even in the new, much more complex, media landscape that is emerging. A new Swedish survey by the international market research company Ipsos provides answers to many questions.

According to Christer Sjökvist, Director of Business Development Marketing at Ipsos, the survey ‘Media consumption of today and tomorrow with a focus on the consumer’ goes further than most surveys of this kind:

“It’s unusual in that it covers all the channels: TV, digital, unaddressed marketing, DM and so on. It’s all in there.”

Christer Sjökvist also points out that it has a focus on looking at the media behaviour from the consumer’s perspective, not from the perspective of the media, as otherwise tends to be the case. He reports that the survey has attracted a great deal of interest from stakeholders and advertisers of various kinds.

A realistic picture

Recent years have seen major changes in how, when and where we use various media. New technology has redrawn the media map, with talk about the death of the newspaper, while the digital development of mobile phones and TV forges ahead in leaps and bounds. But what does this mean? And where are we headed?

The purpose of the Ipsos survey is simply to create a realistic picture of consumers’ media behaviour as it looks today. With better knowledge of the optimum way to reach the target groups and an even better understanding of the way the people in the different segments live, marketing can be made more efficient and effective, saving both time and money. For Holmen Paper’s part, of course, everything concerning the perception and use of the printed media channels is of particular interest.

“We’re extremely pleased to have the results of the survey at our fingertips,” says Giselle Jörnberger, Market Intelligence Manager at Holmen Paper.

“Many of the insights are brand new, while others have confirmed what we already thought to be the case, not least that digital really isn’t the only game in town. On the contrary, many industries indicated strong demand for our products.”

Six different phases of life

It is our phase of life, rather than our age, that determines how we set priorities in our life – and when, where and how we consume different media.


Phase of life crucial

We live different lives, and prioritise our time in different ways. There is a clear correlation between the phase of life we are in and the way we use our time based on our needs and interests. The choice of media channels is naturally also affected by where we are in our lives. In this survey, the population is divided into six different phases of life, which are described partly in terms of age, but also current situation in life.

As part of the survey, the participants were asked to answer a number of questions about their media activities over the period of one week – what they read/watched/ used: for example, radio, TV, newspapers, addressed/unaddressed mail, social media, shop windows, websites, email marketing, catalogues and so on.

Customer clubs growing

The Ipsos survey generated several exciting results, including the fact that TV is not greatly significant in the direct purchasing process. However, TV remains a strong channel in areas such as awareness raising and brand building. Note that, in this context, TV also includes YouTube, and streamed, downloaded and recorded material.
Another insight is that as many as 70 per cent of the population spontaneously name at least one customer club. Customer clubs have become an integral feature in some industries, with clear differences in how members are contacted, depending on the industry. For supermarkets, unaddressed and addressed direct mail is by far the dominant channel, while clothing and fashion makes use of a broad spectrum of channels, and the priority for some other industries is contact by e-mail. In addition, the majority of consumers – 76 per cent– spontaneously state that they have looked at one customer magazine or catalogue in the past month.

Food and furniture choices preferred on paper

The average figures from the survey show that a company’s website is seen as the most important media channel when choosing a product or service. If, however, you look more specifically at different industries, there can be considerable variations. When it comes to supermarkets, and furniture and home furnishings, media channels that use paper come out on top by a wide margin, while consumers who are choosing services such as mobile phones, broadband and TV prefer to do so using digital media


Unga (16-19 år)Young people (aged 16–19)
Unga (16-19 år)Pre-Family (aged 20–34, no children)
Unga (16-19 år)Family (children aged max 12)
Unga (16-19 år)Family (children aged over 12)
Middle aged (aged 35–59, no children at home)Middle aged (aged 35–59, no children at home)
Seniors(aged 60–74)Seniors (aged 60–74)

To find out more about the Ipsos survey,

Contact Giselle Jörnberger:


Ipsos is one of the world’s largest research companies, with around 16 000 employees and offices in as many as 80 countries. Ipsos specialises in marketing, advertising, media, customer satisfaction and loyalty surveys, plus social and political polls.

About the survey

The survey was conducted in Sweden in early 2014. It was based on 1 500 nationally representative online interviews and on digital diaries from respondents aged 16–74. The sample was subsequently weighted and balanced according to gender, age and region.

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Holmen is a forest industry group that manufactures printing paper, paperboard and sawn timber and runs forestry and energy production operations. The company’s extensive forest holdings and its high proportion of energy production are strategically important resources for its future growth.

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