April Showers Bring MayCatalogs

In May, Direct Media’s Catalog Tracker service saw its biggest leap in year-over-year catalog circulation of the past few years. The Greenwich, CT-based list company received 380 consumer catalogs in May 2004, a 23% jump from the 309 tallied in May 2003.

Eleven percent of the catalogs offered free shipping and handling, the same percentage as the previous May and up only slightly from 10% in April 2004. Offers of deferred billing were also flat year over year at 8%, again up just slightly from 7% in April 2004.

Few catalogers offered any other promotions more exciting than discounts on selected merchandise. Food gifts cataloger Harry and David sponsored an “anniversary sweepstakes” — entrants could win “a free Northwest River cruise or one of 100 weekly prizes.” Women’s apparel cataloger J. Jill also offered a sweepstakes, with the winner receiving a cruise to Alaska. Healthy Living catalog promised a “free gift with every order,” while home decor mailer Williamsburg gave away a free hatbox with every order of at least $129.

The Chomping at the Bit Award goes to the Late Summer 2004 edition of L.L. Bean Clothing for Women. The catalog featured the cover line “See our special selection of fall favorites”…even though it arrived in homes in late May.

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