CATALOG Market -- Recovery Is a Custom Order
Deterding says it's too early to really speculate as to how quickly business will build. "However, with a strong holiday season in 2003, we would anticipate seeing a much more robust first half of 2004 (compared to the first half of 2003)," he adds.
In looking ahead to the new year, Quebecor World has found that a sense of the beginnings of an economic rebound has many of its customers cautiously optimistic, reports George Zengo, president of Catalogs and Logistics.
More Mailings Expected
"This has translated into varying levels of increased circulation being forecasted by some significant customers in our consumer catalog segment. These increases stem from an upsurge in prospect mailings as catalogers are hoping to attract new customers," Zengo continues. "At this point, business-to-business segment sales remain flat overall and continue to lag behind the consumer sector."
Given its position as a leading printer of consumer retail (e.g., Nordstrom's, Nieman Marcus, Harry and David's) as well as business-to-business (e.g., Staples/ Quill) catalogs, RR Donnelley expects to gain more than an average share of the anticipated growth, Knotts says. Over the past three years, the company has continued to make investments in new equipment, technology and employees in order to have the resources to help customers create more effective and efficient communications, he adds.
Catalogers are focusing more of their efforts on achieving higher response rates. "Technological developments, business dynamics and research into changing consumer needs have presented challenging new opportunities that demand more collaborative solutions," he says.
Knotts expects direct marketers to increase their catalog mailings as they more aggressively pursue acquisition of new customers. Page counts also should rise as merchandise selection is better targeted to key buying groups.
"A catalog must target the right audience with the right message and be delivered at the right time," Knotts says. "We must make it easier for clients to reach their customers, strengthen their brands and reduce the total delivered cost of catalogs. Bottom line, we want to help our customers sell and save more."