Compare this with last year: Of those catalogues we tracked in July 2009, 30.9 percent promoted a sale or discount on the cover. However, a year ago we logged in 149 catalogues, compared with only 91 last month. That being said, 91 catalogues represents a 21 percent increase on June 2010, so volume may be picking up again as we head into the autumn/winter season. Among those promoting a sale in July 2010 were apparel catalogue Crew Clothing, gifts catalogue The Owl Barn, and watch etailer Christopher Ward. I noted that the Christopher Ward catalogue landed on my doormat on 1st July—the day its sale started. Well, you'd expect great timing from a watchmaker—nice touch!
The percentage of catalogues offering a free gift with purchase remained roughly unchanged from last month, rising a mere 0.1 percent. Among the most generous was plants and bulb specialist J Parker, which offered customers 30 mixed narcissi with any order. Plus, if customers spent more than £40, they would also receive 30 tulips.
Free delivery was marginally less popular this month, down from 14.1 percent to 12.1 percent in July. One catalogue offering free P&P was apparel catalogue Peter Hahn. Though from the unappealing message on its front cover, I doubt it wanted many people to take up the offer. In capital letters it stated: “Offer valid once per household. Minimum order value £35. No cash alternative. Until 31 January 2011.” Obviously Peter Hahn doesn’t believe in a softly, softly approach. –MT