CATALOG MARKET OUTLOOK --Sales on Back Order
"To meet the needs of the multi-channel market and stay competitive, we are delivering better content management solutions and streamlined creative production workflows to our customers," Zuccarini continues. "We believe print is still the most cost-effective medium for delivering revenue but, as the research proves, print alone isn't enough. Therefore, our Pre-media Technologies group offers tools that ensure brand and product consistency across all marketing mediums. These solutions are helping our customers compress cycle times, reduce costs and effectively market to their end consumers."
Going forward, Zuccarini says the successful printers will be the ones that most proactively anticipate clients' needs—offering integrated solutions in the right format at the right time.
Spencer Press in Wells, ME, looked to its own customer base in order to get a better sense of business conditions, reports Stephen Spenlinhauer, president. "After reviewing our top 20 mail order customers, we found that 12 are reporting sales up, six say business is flat compared to 2001 and two are down," he reveals. The prevailing trend among those reporting sales growth is to increase their quantity of mailings and not page counts, the company exec adds.
"We are finding the general atmosphere in the mail order sector to be more positive than last year at this time. There is definitely less uncertainty than in 2001," Spenlinhauer continues. "In particular, we have noticed that the lower end catalogs are fairing better and some sale catalogs are doing well. Our overall projection is for the next nine months to be better than last year, with some increase in print quantities and more demand for press time."
Spenlinhauer echoes the contention that it doesn't take an economic turndown for catalogers to look for ways to reduce costs. "They continually review paper prices, weights and grades to see if they can reduce cost while not hurting sales," he says. "Demographic binding is, as always, playing a big role for those catalogers in a position to take advantage of the capability. We are seeing more testing in this area with regard to page counts and cover changes."