Gifts and collectibles names not so generous

May 01, 2008 9:30 PM  By

The gifts and collectibles catalog segment lost about 650,000 names — roughly 3% — in 2007, according to New York-based media brokerage firm ParadyszMatera. As of the fourth quarter of 2007, the gifts and collectibles list universe was 21.2 million names.

Leading the pack once again is Collections Etc. The cataloger has a 12-month house file universe of about 3 million names and boasts an average order of $50. Collections Etc. credits its success in large part to its popular “Absolutely Nothin’ over $20” business model (which makes the average order of $50 all the more impressive).

Next in line is venerable personalized gifts cataloger Lillian Vernon, with 1.8 million names. Rounding out the top five are novelties supplier Oriental Trading Co., with 1.2 million names, paper goods merchant Current, with 936,000 names, and upscale gifts provider Red Envelope, with 882,000 names.

Despite the slight dip in the gifts and collectibles segment’s total universe, some catalogers saw tremendous growth during 2007. The Pretty Good Goods Catalog (formerly A Prairie Home Companion), in the fourth quarter of 2007 alone saw its list grow 116.3% to reach 54,000 names. The company, which is owned by American Public Media Group, credits its rapid growth to increased prospecting. Its average order is $65.

Similarly, National Geographic Catalog, an arm of the National Geographic Society, saw its file increase 163.8% to reach 348,000 names in the fourth quarter of 2007. Its average order is $85.

Gifts mailers continue to use incentives such as free shipping, special discounts, deferred payment plans, and other promotions. Of these, free shipping remains the most popular incentive: one of the category’s most active free shipping mailers for 2007 was Tender Heart Treasures, followed closely by siblings Oriental Trading Co. and Terry’s Village.

During 2007, 21% of merchants in the gifts and collectibles space offered free shipping, up slightly from 20% in 2006. Roughly 32% offered at least one incentive during 2007, up from 27% in 2006 and 23% in 2005. Discount use rose from 8% in 2006 to 11% in 2007. That’s mainly due to increased promotions offered by PajamaGram and Victorian Trading Co. during the fourth quarter of 2007.

House file universe: gifts & collectibles catalogs
4Q
2005
1Q
2006
2Q
2006
3Q
2006
4Q
2006
1Q
2007
2Q
2007
3Q
2007
4Q
2007
Total universe 21.1 21.8 22.0 22.2 21.9 22.2 21.6 21.5 21.2
Gifts & collectibles catalogs with the largest active-buyer files
Rank List name 4Q 2007 house file universe Average order
1 Collections Etc. Buyers 3,046,887 $50
2 Lillian Vernon Mail Order Buyer Masterfile 1,790,405 $56
3 Oriental Trading Co. 1,200,000 $65
4 Current General Merchandise Catalog Buyers 936,193 $50
5 Red Envelope 881,899 $92
Source: ParadyszMatera