CATALOGS — Riding the e-Wave


It’s been a very good year.

The prophecies that the Internet would eventually kill off print appears not to be coming to fruition, just yet. In fact, if 2000 is any indication, the Internet appears to have emerged as a most positive development for the catalog industry.

Top 10 Catalog Printers
  Company Segment
Total Sales
1 R.R. Donnelley & Sons
$1,350 $5,000
2 Quebecor World
$1,111 $6,540
3 Quad/Graphics
Pewaukee, WI
$705 $1,500
4 Banta Corp.
Menasha, WI
$215 $1,270
5 Arandell Corp.
Menomonee Falls, WI
$181 $197
6 Perry Judd’s Inc.
Waterloo, WI
$96 $320
7 Spencer Press
Wells, ME
$88 $98
8 Avanti/Case-Hoyt
$77 $155
9 Consolidated Graphics
$62 $625
10 Brown Printing
Waseca, MN
$60 $376

According to PIA’s Vision 21 study, “As recently as the late 1990s, conventional wisdom maintained that the Internet would sound the death knell for many paper-based . . . products. Yet this new communication medium has actually promoted the use of printed products in certain instances. In its current form, the Internet is improving the paper catalog business in a few key ways:

  • Catalog companies are expanding their customer base through the Internet;

  • Order processing and fulfillment costs are dropping, providing promotional funds; and
  • Internet retail sites are offering paper catalogs.”

The emergence of the Internet has been good for business, says Steven Zuccarini, president of the Merchandise Media Group for R.R. Donnelley & Sons. The Chicago-based company again found itself the number one ranked catalog printer in the country with $1.35 billion in catalog revenues.

“This was a strong year for catalogers in that we continued to see healthy consumer spending across their multiple channels of distribution. In an effort to capture additional sales, our catalog customers increased page counts and circulation,” reports Zuccarini.

A recent GAMIS study entitled “The Future of Catalogs” found that, while catalogers maintained that over half of the purchases on their Websites came from existing customers from their paper catalogs, many have begun experimental mailings to new customers who purchased for the first time from their Website. Couple this with the movement of some e-retailers toward a paper catalog, as well as an online presence, and you have the makings of a very profitable relationship between the Internet and paper catalogs.

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