Half of 12-17 year olds have never sent a personal letter to friends or family in their lifetime!

As WeTransfer research reveals that 117,331 confess it’s because they don’t know how to

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WeTransfer research finds that 50% of 12-17 year olds in Britain have never sent a personal letter to friends or family in their lifetime.

As the country is gearing up for this year’s holiday festivities, a study by the file-transfer service, WeTransfer, finds that 50% of 12-17 year olds** in Britain have never sent a personal letter to friends or family in their lifetime. Shockingly, the research, which polled 2,000 adults*** and children between the ages of 12-17, revealed that 117,331* British youngsters confess it’s because they don’t know how to. Yet, when it comes to communicating digitally, both adults and youngsters are well versed, as 93% of teens and over half of adults (55%) use services such as file-transfers and e-mails multiple times a day.

The research also reveals that young girls are much more likely to have sent one than boys, with over 3 in 5 boys (63%) never having sent one before, compared to only 2 in 5 girls (40%). The main reason for 37% of boys is because they don’t see why they should, when they can mail things digitally.

It isn’t just Generation Y who has been giving traditional letters the boot in recent years however, as over a quarter of adults (29%) admit they can’t remember the last time they sent a personal letter. For those that do send letters, 3 in 5 (64%) send them to family, while only 5% of adults would send them for business purposes.

As younger generations grow up with technology as part of their everyday lives, over 2 in 5 teens (45%) cite sending traditional letters as being ‘outdated’, with 21% stating ‘arrival time’, ‘convenience’ (19%) and that it’s ‘too expensive’ (17%) as top reasons for not sending more letters.

For those adults still sending letters or cards, the results reveal that Birthdays (79%) and Christmas (77%) are the top occasions. This is mirrored by half of teens (53%), who are planning to go down the traditional route this Christmas by posting a card to loved ones this year. 


Notes to editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from One Poll. Total sample size was 2000, polling 1000 adults and 1000 children between the ages of 12-17. Fieldwork was undertaken from December 4 – December 9, 2013. The figures are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+) and children (12-17).

* Figures based on ONS figures of 4,512,400 12-17 year olds x the number of who’ve never sent a letter (50.1%) = 2,260,712.4.

5.19% of 2,260712.4 = 117,331(i.e. the total number of 12-17 year olds who don’t know how to send personal letters.

**‘Teens’, ‘Generation Y’ or ‘youngsters’ refers to those polled between the ages of 12 to 17.

***‘Adults’ refers to those polled aged from 18.

"“What we’re seeing is a digitally savvy generation of kids, who are well versed in using online channels to get what they want, but have completely lost sense of the old fashioned ways of staying in touch and communicating. We were amazed to see that so many teenagers had no idea how to post a traditional letter. “At WeTransfer our big win is the simplicity and beauty of our service, meaning everybody can use it – even your parents. There’s no requirement to give away tons of data or spend time filling in forms, you can transfer files online straight away with the click of a button. Our continued growth reflects the success of this approach.”" Co-Founder of WeTransfer, Nalden said:
About WeTransfer

WeTransfer makes tools to move ideas. Founded in 2009 in Amsterdam as a simple, well-designed file sharing service for the creative community, WeTransfer has grown to include tools that scale across the creative spectrum, including editorial platform WePresent (with 3M monthly readers), mobile app 'Collect by WeTransfer' (with 4M monthly users), quick slide-making tool Paste® (with 40,000 active teams), immersive sketching tool Paper® (with more than 30M downloads), and the original web platform with 60M monthly users and over a billion files sent each month.

From the beginning, WeTransfer has prioritized bringing “offline” values - trust, transparency, and ethics - online. This means having a responsible data policy and tools that don’t distract people from their creative flow. WeTransfer has pioneered a new means of online advertising, resulting in the platform’s full-page wallpapers, designed by our award-winning in-house creative studio. Advertisers include industry-leading brands like Apple, Saint Laurent, Google, Balenciaga, Samsung, Netflix, Adidas, and Squarespace.

Since its founding, WeTransfer has proudly supported the creative communities and given up to 30% of advertising space to support the arts, donating over 5 billion impressions in 2017. Through our ongoing advertising grant program and content platform, WePresent, we have partnered with hundreds of groundbreaking artists and organizations, including Björk, King Krule, FKA twigs, Ryan McGinley, Ami Vitale, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the UN Development Program, the World Wildlife Foundation and the Prince Estate. In 2016, WeTransfer launched the world’s first free Masters of the Arts in design thinking with the University of the Underground and Worldwide FM, the global radio station run by legendary BBC DJ Gilles Peterson.

Following a $25 million investment from Highland Europe in 2015, WeTransfer opened a US office in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, to add to the Amsterdam headquarters. In 2018, WeTransfer acquired popular creative apps Paper® and Paste® and expanded its US presence to New York City.

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