Consumers prefer paper receipts
For customers and businesses, a receipt is proof of purchase. For the customer, it can enable refunds or reflect the agreed-upon cost of a transaction. For a business, a receipt proves that the customer authorized a transaction.
Legislation has recently been proposed in California that will require businesses to provide electronic receipts by default unless a customer requests a paper one.
But is this what customers want?
According to a recent survey of 8,883 consumers across Europe and North America,1 consumers show a clear preference for paper receipts when purchasing products and services.
- 58% of those surveyed prefer a paper receipt rather than a digital alternative, such as one sent via email. The U.S. showed the strongest preference for paper at 71%, followed by the UK (69%), Canada (64%) and Germany (61%).
- 55% of global respondents believe that paper receipts are more practical than digital ones for archiving and accounting purposes, and 64% believe they are more practical when they need to return goods and/or obtain a refund.
- 61% of respondents say that they never or rarely refuse paper receipts when offered.
A paper receipt is permanent, secure and accessible to all – advantages that digital receipts cannot guarantee.
Retail transactions with digital receipts are exposed to a growing security risk. In the U.S., 150 million retail records were accidentally breached in 2018 and 52% of retailers have had a data breach. Globally, 43% of retail companies experienced a data breach in 2017.
– Gemalto, 2018 & Thales, 2017.
62% of consumers are increasingly concerned that their personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost, or damaged. Almost half (48%) of global respondents consider paper receipts more secure than digital ones, with only 23% believing digital receipts are the most secure.1
Having a paper receipt is a necessity for those who do not have reliable access to the internet or have limited computer skills. People living in rural areas, those with low annual incomes and those over 65 years of age are less likely to be internet users or own a smartphone and would be unfairly disadvantaged if receipts were to become solely electronic.2
- Toluna, 2019. Receipts: Paper or Digital? An international study of consumer preferences and perceptions.
- Pew Research Center, 2018. http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/internet-broadband/; CRTC, 2016 https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/rp161221/rp161221.htm
The facts booklet explores many key topics surrounding paper receipts and paper in general.
A comprehensive analysis of some of the key questions asked about paper receipts.