May 2006 was almost a carbon copy of May 2005 as far as Catalog Tracker was concerned. This past May the service of Greenwich, CT-based list services provider Direct Media received 357 consumer catalogs — just one shy of the 358 received in May 2005, though 6% fewer than the 380 received in May 2003. Then again, it’s five catalogs more than were received in April 2006. By comparison, volume in May 2005 was actually 10% lower than it had been in April 2005.
The percentage of catalogs offering free shipping and handling held steady from the previous May at 13%. The popularity of deferred billing did decline, however: Whereas 8% of the May 2005 catalogs had offered it, just 6% of the May 2006 catalogs did.
Eleven of the catalogs promised some variation of a gift with purchase. Food mailer Stock Yards, for instance, offered 12 “steakburgers” with every order of at least $150. Coolibar, which sells sun-protective clothing, included a cotton hat with every order of at least $75. And both Dr. Leonard’s (the purveyor of diverse goods such as Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer, Vinyl Shelf Edging, and the Uncle Sam Tree Face) and Healthy Living (whose eclectic product assortment includes the Never Scrub SelfCleaning Toilet System, Spray Hair Color, and the Holy Bible on DVD) offered a free gift with every order.
Among the few other promotions, Lamps Plus — which has branched out to sell all manner of decor in addition to lamps — ran a contest offering a $5,000 shopping spree. And though it didn’t tout any special offers, After 5, which sells cocktail-related accoutrements and novelties, did have the most unusual issue name of the month: “Drink Pink.” Though the title referred to a set of pink martini glasses, it momentarily left us green around the gills.