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Digital brochures of manufacturers are preferred in most European countries

Digital media are becoming more and more important in the media orientation and consumption of European architects. There was already a suspicion that the shift from traditional media towards digital media has started to take off, but this could be supported by facts with the most recent report of the European Architectural Barometer. A good example is how architects would like to receive the brochures of manufacturers. Where usually printed brochures have been the most common use, architects now indicate to prefer digital brochures of manufacturers over printed versions in most European countries. In the European Architectural Barometer Q1 2018 report USP Marketing Consultancy have measured the media orientation and consumption of architects in eight European countries.

Preferences per country

Some countries are more digital minded than others. When looking at differences per country we see a clear preference for digital media in Belgium, Italy, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands. In these countries a majority of architects indicate that they would prefer digital manufacturer brochures over printed versions. These countries are clearly more digital minded as also the usage of social media, architectural portals, the website of manufacturers is higher than in other countries. In France, Germany and Poland printed media are still preferred by architects, with less architects having a preference for digital brochures. 

Reasons for preference

The main reason for the differences in media orientation and consumption of architects for each country is the cultural mindset of architects.  A typical example of a country that is still more tradition in their media usage are Germany and Poland. This might not be surprising, as Germany and Poland are also countries that have the lowest penetration of other digital trends such as Building Information Modeling. Furthermore German architects also use other digital media such as social media platforms and architectural platforms less often than their European colleagues.

Next to the cultural aspects mentioned above, there is another reason for a preference to receive the brochures digitally. In general, architects receive a lot of brochures, up to even 5 or more per week. On average only about 40% of the manufacturer brochures received are actually read. Italian architects receive the lowest amount of manufacturer brochures in a month, but the majority (56%) of these received brochures are read, which indicates that when receiving less brochures, the chance will be bigger that it is actually read as well.

Digital brochures advantage for manufacturers

When architects prefer digital brochures and printed brochures become less interesting to them, it means for manufacturers that they can spend more time on their digital brochures. Advantages are that these are easier to update and they can also make it widely available by sending it through or by making it available on the website for example. Brochures are still a heavily used source by architects for product information, with France and the UK as the most heavy users, and country Poland with a slightly lower usage. But still the vast majority indicates to use these as a source of information on a regular basis. Offering digital brochures is thus becoming more important for manufacturers. By offering these brochures on their own websites, another heavily used source and frequently visited by architects, will serve the architects need for product information.


A good digital brochure is important for the manufacturers and will only become more and more important in the future, because the shift from more traditional media towards digital media has started to take off. The cultural mindset is of high importance for the media orientation and consumption of architects. The digital brochure is most often being preferred by architects in most investigated European countries. The more traditional countries (like Germany) are less online minded, but the expectation is that online and digital media will become more and more important in all European countries. It will be interesting to see how this shift towards digital media affects the usage of social media, architectural platforms, websites of manufacturers, newsletters, trade fairs, journals, magazines and so on.