Just like every May

Aug 01, 2007 9:30 PM  By

Delivery-wise, May 2007 was almost a carbon copy of May 2006, which was nearly identical to May 2005. Catalog tracker received 360 books in during the month, three more than it did during the same period in 2006 and eight more than in 2005.

But Direct Media, which runs this service, saw other similarities between the years. Thirteen-percent of the catalogs received offered free shipping, the same percentage as May of both 2006 and 2005 and on par with the past two Aprils. Use of deferred billing was slightly down, with 5% of the catalogs received offering the option vs. 6% in May 2005. In April, 7% of catalogs offered deferred billing.

Other shipping offers were a $5.95 flat rate from party supplies mailer Birthday Express, $4.95 on any order from healthy living products merchant Gaiam Harmony, and $3.99 standard shipping fee from niche mailer Creative Irish Gifts.

Additional promotions included a chance to win a 2007 Jeep Wrangler from car accessories marketer 4WheelDrive, a free hard drive upgrade from computer giant Dell, and a free gift with every order from spa products merchant Healthy Living. Upscale gifts and home decor cataloger The Best of Horchow also dangled a $5,000 shopping spree, and low-end gifts and novelties mailer Walter Drake held a $10,000 sweepstakes. Brookstone gave away a free one-year subscription to Conde Nast Traveler with a $75 purchase.

In terms of volume, though, Catalog Tracker recieved 10 fewer catalogs in May than in April. There was also a drop in the number of apparel/accessories books received — 132 vs. 149 in April. The biggest year-over-year jump was from the home decor/housewares class — 78 came in this May vs. 66 in May 2006.

As was the speculation in April, catalogers may have mailed books as early in the month as possible to beat the May 14 postal increase. Of the catalogs received for the month, 63% had an in-home delivery date between May 1 and May 15.