Live from the ACC: Signs of a Rebound

Chicago–Many marketers are optimistic that the economy is turning around, and that optimism is reflected in increased catalog circulation. In April, circulation was up 15% from that of April 2001, according to list firm Direct Media’s Mail Box Monitor and Catalog Tracker, which keeps a weekly account of the promotional activity of more than 1,400 consumer catalogs. What’s more, average catalog page counts increased from 62 to 67.

These findings are the first from its Mail Box Monitor that Greenwich, CT-based Direct Media has made available to the public. Among other findings, released exclusively to CATALOG AGE:

* From 1999 to 2001, the percentage of mailers using “send a friend” notices in the form of catalog bind-ins, business reply forms, and the like decreased an average of 11% a year. So far this year, 33% of catalogers have used “send a friend” promotions.

* So far this year, 3% of catalogers have offered credit to customers. That’s down from 5% during the previous three years. Direct Media suggests that the decline is due to a decrease in the number of lower-end catalogs being mailed.

* If you think you’re seeing more housewares and home decor catalogs than you used to, you’re right: The number of catalogs in this category has increased about 2% a year since 1999, making this the category with the highest growth rate.

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