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Catalogs Dead? Ho ho ho.

Catalog

They say the average person gains five to ten pounds during the holiday season. Well, here at B Direct, we 're assuming that those stats don't include USPS mail carriers. Those diligent civil servants work particularly hard at this festive time of year. Not only are they on their feet delivering Christmas cards and gifts and fruitcakes, but they're weightlifting at the same time.

Yes, we're talking about ...

Catalogs.

In just one day, here's what the Queen B received: Orvis Men; J.Jill; Hale Groves; Lands' End; The Popcorn Factory; Cheryl's Cookies; The Vermont Country Store; Coldwater Creek; Oriental Trading Company; Carbon2Cobalt; Victorian Trading Company; MoMA Design Store; Wine Country. Gift Baskets; Sharper Image; Brookstone; Talbots; Expressions; Back in the Saddle.

Phew! We're exhausted just typing all that, much less carrying it on our daily rounds.

Given how many shoppers (including the Queen B) go online to buy gifts, it's surprising that catalogers still invest so much in  paper and postage. As dedicated direct marketers, we decided to look into it for you. Here's what we found ...

According to the DMA, 9.8 billion catalogs were mailed in 2016. And over 100.7 million Americans made a catalog purchase.

Here's more catalog data from the DMA Fact Book:

30% of people polled reported that a catalog recently drove them online to shop, with millennials and Gen-Xers reporting in at 38%

75% of marketers reported that they plan to prospect using a catalog in the coming 12-month

85% of marketers plan to maintain or increase circulation

• 88% of marketers plan to maintain or increase page counts 

Perhaps most surprising, people found catalogs the most interesting type of standard mail — surpassing (paid subscription) newspapers and magazines by 31%.

And the good news for catalog marketers? There's been a 23% increase in overall response, despite a 4.5% decrease in catalogs mailed.

In other words, catalogs remain effective and are becoming more efficient.

So, apologies for your bad back, Mr. and Ms. Postal Carrier. (May we suggest the Relax the Back catalog?) Looks like there's one holiday tradition that's not going away any time soon.


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