Is Print Media Dead?

Lilly Thuma Picture

by Lilly Thuma | Last Updated: Jan 19, 2021

It is time to say goodbye to the days of having a newspaper delivered every morning, subscribing to magazines to stay up to date with pop culture, and ordering from catalogs. As sad it might be to hear, consumers just aren’t engaging with print media like they used to. For the past decade, print has been seeing a steady decline, and the future isn’t looking any brighter. Print media may not be dead yet, but it definitely is dying.

Consumer Behavior Is Changing

You can probably guess one reason, it’s what we're always preaching about here at Lumavate, the world going digital! When you are considering buying something do you go find the latest copy of a brand’s catalog? Or do you just pull up their website or app to see what products they have? Of course, you go to their website because it’s easier, get more information about the product, and have something purchased and on the way to your house in a matter of minutes.

This move to digital isn’t only true for consumer purchasing behavior. Digital advertising is also more effective than print advertising. Considering how much time we all spend on our phones why would a brand waste time creating a print ad when they can create a digital ad that will reach consumers where they spend the most time - online! Especially with how many different advertising platforms are now available for marketers, it’s a no brainer. And the numbers reflect this. By 2024, both magazine and newspaper ad spending will be only a quarter of what it once was in 2012.

Brands Are Going Green

Another reason brands are moving away from print is to be more environmentally friendly. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious these days, and brands must do the same. In the past year, about 11 percent of consumers have said they changed their buying behavior based on the environment. This trend was accelerated by the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, and will only continue to grow in the future as consumers continue to link the health of the planet on their health. Plus, a lot of big brand names have been making commitments to be more conscientious of their environmental impact including Apple and Amazon.

Many Brands Have Already Ditched Print

Many brands have already decided to ditch print and go fully digital, and it is paying off big time. When brands embrace digital they engage more consumers, make buying easier, and align with consumers' environmental values.


Ikea is one example. They recently announced the discontinuation of their print product catalog after 70 years. This decision has been in the works for years and is driven by a combination of the reasons listed above. Instead of sending out mass amounts of catalogs to consumers as the furniture brand has done in the past, Ikea will be releasing digital catalogs that will go on display. They also will further engage with consumers by rolling out their mobile app. The app will include shoppable content, product reviews, easier search functions, and an integrated augmented reality feature. So it’s basically like a catalog, but better, cooler, and easier to use! And this digital investment has paid off with Ikea already seeing a 45 percent increase in online sales.


H&M also decided to stop printing their catalog back in 2019. While catalogs have long been a staple of the fashion industry, they are just not needed anymore. Not when websites, apps, and digital technology is advanced as it is today. Plus, there has also been a huge push in the fashion industry for brands to adopt more environmentally friendly practices, like using more sustainable materials, especially when it comes to fast-fashion retailers. The decision to cease production of a catalog falls in line with these changes, and many other retailers have done the same.

Print had its time to shine, but with the digital capabilities, we now have it is just not necessary to continue producing catalogs or most other print marketing materials. Plus, the brands that have embraced going digital have benefitted from it.

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