Further, Spicers believes that printers and designers may be able to turn new electronic reporting legislation into an opportunity.
The random telephone survey, commissioned by parent company PaperlinX, was conducted by an independent market research house. It questioned a broad spectrum of Australian share market investors about their use of Annual Reports and access to online versions.
Key findings include:
- 15 per cent of shareholders have no internet access and do not want to deal with technological issues;
- 62 per cent of shareholders prefer to receive a hardcopy report;
- two thirds of shareholders currently receive annual reports in hardcopy;
- Shareholders expressing a preference are four times more likely to read the annual report in hardcopy form than in electronic form;
- Shareholders aged 50+ (comprising over 50 per cent of retail shareholders) are the most disadvantaged by the shift to electronic delivery.
The upshot is that companies who save money by not producing printed annual reports may be losing out elsewhere, by disadvantaging the majority of their shareholders and diluting critical engagement opportunities.
Spicers points to similar trends in North America, where initial curtailing of printed reports evolved into a need for more diversified communication with shareholders and potential investors through printed forms.
While there is little it can do to convince corporate Australia to maintain previous levels of printed annual report production, Spicers is dedicated to helping Australian printers and designers work alongside those companies to identify new and potent ways to benefit mutually from print communication.