2005 CATALOG PRINTING Outlook -- Still Making the Sale
BY MARK SMITH
Catalogs and publications typically are linked operationally and managerially, at least to some degree, within major printing organizations. This is reflected in the high degree of crossover among the Printing Impressions Top 10 Printers rankings for the mag/cat or pub/cat categories, as some call them.
The markets these printers serve also share a common outlook in that change is the operative word for catalogs, as well. Online shopping continues to be the dominant market force reshaping the interest in and use of printed catalogs.
|Top 10 Catalog Printers|
Menomonee Falls, WI
|Sales figures are based on above printers' self-reported total and market segment breakdowns.
* RR Donnelley's figure for this market segment also includes revenues from publications and ad inserts.
Following Amazon.com's lead from the 2000 holiday season, eBay Inc. recently attested to the enduring value of printed catalogs by distributing its own wish book. This move arguably is more significant because the eBay culture is so dependent on the Web. Also, the catalog is being issued at a time when the online shopping experience has matured and high-speed access is commonplace.
According to the "2004 Abacus Annual Catalog Industry Trend Report," only 43 percent of sales attributed to a catalog mailing were conducted through a catalog call center in the past year, with the remaining sales being recorded on Websites and in retail stores. Existing customers, in particular, are more likely to use a Website or store to complete purchases, with a third (33 percent) of their catalog-driven purchases occurring online and almost a quarter (24 percent) placed in a store.