Does Generation Y use Print Yellow Pages?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Rebecca Frantz

Generation Y, the segment of the population born roughly between the early 1980s to the late 1990s, has been characterized as a digital demographic. It’s easy to assume that twenty-somethings in 2012 have little use for print directories with the easy access to Internet search on smart-phones, laptops, and tablets. However, looking closer at Generation Y’s media usage, it’s clear that usage of online media does not eliminate the need for print resources.

While print yellow pages usage by Gen Y is less than overall Internet usage, it is still significant, and more importantly, purchase-specific. When a Gen Y member is faced with making a large purchase decision, a recent Fromholzer study shows that 26% used Print Yellow Pages in the past month to search for business information. One in four 18-24 year olds is said to use PYP in an average month, and nearly 50% of this segment said they have consulted print books in the last year. Another 9% reported monthly usage of Internet Yellow Pages when looking for purchase information. DAC’s most recent media landscape study confirms that Gen Y uses Print when looking to make a purchase. Considering all available media options, over 40% of 18-24 year old respondents use PYP as one of their media sources when searching for business information. [1]

Generation Y is also getting older. The top end are about to enter their 30’s and many are making life changes that prompt major purchases. As they start buying property, getting married, investing for the future of their children, they are statistically more likely to rely on PYP and IYP to make these purchase decisions. The same Fromholzer study data showed 60% of 25-29 year old respondents stated that they used PYP within the last year. In addition, one out of three said that they use PYP in an average month, and one in seven reported using IYP at least once a month.

Generation Y is not oblivious to print and IYP offerings, and in fact, many depend on them to guide them in purchasing decisions. Even users who self-reported as “tech-savvy” still find value in print directories and seek out these media types when they have money to spend.

[1] DAC Landscape study, conducted by Kantar with 5,000 North Americans in October 2011

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Rebecca Frantz, Market Research Assistant