Catalog Tracker: Where Have All the Catalogs Gone?

During September, Catalog Tracker received 450 consumer catalogs. While that was enough to keep the mailbox filled, it was 19% fewer catalogs than the 558 received in September 2002.

The number of books received in one product category increased, however. Whereas Catalog Tracker (a service of Greenwich, CT-based list firm Direct Media) received 32 catalogs selling children’s merchandise in September 2002, this past September it received 43 such books — a nearly 35% increase.

September is the sixth month in a row to show a year-over-year decline in the number of books received by Catalog Tracker. But the percentage of catalogs offering free shipping increased, from 6% in September 2002 to 9% this past September. The percentage offering deferred billing stayed flat at 8%.

Among other promotional offerings, Country Store, whose products include home furnishings and gifts, touted “Only $1.99 for shipping & insured delivery any size order!” To encourage shoppers to buy before the holiday rush, home decor cataloger Design Toscano gave customers who ordered by Oct. 31 a 10% discount. And gifts title Collections Etc. mailed a book in which every single item cost $14.99.