Catalog Printing–An Evolving Market Thrives

BY ERIK CAGLE

In an age when the Internet may seem to be slowly eroding the print-on-paper medium, evidence suggests that a complementary relationship is being forged between the pair.

This definitely appears to be the case with the catalog industry. According to a study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), catalog retailers were expected to generate 5 percent of their sales from the Internet this year, more than double the figure for 1998. This was among the findings made by “The DMA State of the Catalog Industry Report: 1999.”

“This report contains significant information about how catalogers are turning their direct marketing expertise into success on the Internet,” notes H. Robert Wientzen, president and CEO of the DMA. “With their expertise in customer service and fulfillment, many catalogers are setting the standard for success in e-commerce.”

That translates into good news for the catalog printers that help retailers spread the word of their new endeavors through the print medium.

Top 10 Catalog Printers
  Company Segment
Sales
(millions)
Total Sales
(millions)
1 R.R. Donnelley & Sons
Chicago
$1,350.00 $5,000.00
2 Quebecor World*
Montreal
$1,170.00 $6,160.00
3 Quad/Graphics
Sussex, WI
$742.00 $1,400.00
4 Banta Corp.
Menasha, WI
$241.00 $1,340.00
5 Arandell Corp.
Menomonee Falls, WI
$163.00 $177.00
6 Perry Judd’s Inc.
Waterloo, WI
$87.00 $292.00
7 Avanti/Case-Hoyt
Miami
$75.00 $150.00
8 Spencer Press
Wells, ME
$68.00 $85.00
9 GTC Transcontinental
Montreal
$60.00 $866.00
10 Brown Printing
Waseca, MN
$56.00 $355.00
*Combined proforma data as of 12/31/98

Business is good for R.R. Donnelley & Sons. The Chicago-headquartered megaprinter enjoyed $1.35 billion in catalog revenues during its most recent fiscal year, joining Quebecor World ($1.17 billion) as the only companies to cross the billion dollar sales plateau. According to Joe Lawler, president of Donnelley’s Merchandise Media Group, which produces both business and consumer catalogs, late third-quarter and fourth-quarter sales were providing a solid finish to a successful year.

“We are seeing somewhat more ‘versioning,’ which means smaller catalogs,” Lawler explains. “A number of the on-line companies are also looking to put catalogs in the mail to drive traffic to their Websites—that’s true in our catalog and direct mail business.”

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