Abacus report shows 6% decline in catalog sales

The fall 2001 Catalog Industry Trend Report released on Dec. 10 by co-op database compiler Abacus Direct shows that for the 12 months ended June 2001, catalog sales were down 5.7% from the previous 12 months. But the report also shows that beginning Sept. 21, sales rose sharply and stayed above 2000 levels for five straight weeks.

Other highlights:

* February and March suffered the largest catalog sales declines–9.5% and 14.3% respectively

* 67% of Internet users made a purchase online compared to 63% the previous year.

* Apparel and accessories catalog sales increased nearly 1% for the 12 months ended in June, but sales for the first half of 2001 were down 7% from the first half of 2000, due to lower average order sizes.

* Home goods sales fell 2.8% for the 12-month period, although average order sizes remained virtually the same—increasing $1 to $147.

* Gift sales dropped 4.4% for the year.

The report was compiled from the Abacus Alliance database, which consists of transactional information from 1,800 catalog clients containing 3.5 billion transactions from 90 million U.S. households.