The run-up to the holiday season began in earnest for mailers in September. Catalog Tracker, a service of Greenwich, CT-based list firm Direct Media, logged in 443 consumer catalogs in September, a 22% increase from the 363 it received in August.
September’s year-over-year volume declined marginally from the 449 catalogs received in September 2003. Overall third-quarter volume increased nearly 5%, however, to 1,103 consumer catalogs received this year compared with 1,053 last year.
Nine percent of the catalogs received in September offered free shipping and handling, the same percentage as in September 2003. And the percentage offering deferred billing declined from 8% in September 2003 to 6% this September.
Nor was there a plethora of other promotions. Several normally nonpromotional mailers did offer sweepstakes, however. Dolls and books company American Girl ran a sweepstakes tying in with the November airing of a made-for-TV movie based on one of its most popular characters. Pet supplies cataloger Doctors Foster & Smith offered a chance to win a trip for two to the World Bird Show. And upscale home decor catalog Horchow, which is part of the Neiman Marcus Direct stable, was giving away a $5,000 shopping spree. That’s twice the amount of money that low-end general merchandiser and perpetual promotion runner Carol Wright Gifts was offering in its sweepstakes.
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