The figure also represents a considerable drop from the volume of catalogues we logged in November 2010, when we received 167 catalogues. Another significant contrast is that December’s crop of catalogues was much more promotional than the previous month, with 62.1 percent of front covers making a mention of a special offer, compared with less than half of the November covers doing so.
No prizes for guessing what the most popular offer was in December. Once again, sales and discounts featured most prominently, on the cover of 29 out of 66 catalogues. Many cataloguers, it seemed, did not want to wait until January to start their sales: step forward Charles Tyrwhitt, Craghoppers, and JoJo Maman Bebe.
The percentage of catalogues offering free delivery in December was up marginally on November--21.2 percent, compared with 18 percent. The percentage of catalogues promoting a free gift on the cover fell from 8.4 percent to 6.1 percent, or just four catalogues out of 66.
And finally for December’s haul of catalogues, you may wonder what discount apparel retailer M and M Direct, audio/visual cabling supplier Russ Andrews, and plants catalogue Thompson & Morgan have in common. These three catalogues were the only ones we received that made a promotional opportunity of the VAT rise. Thompson & Morgan pledged to hold 2010’s prices, while Russ Andrews promised to keep VAT at 17.5 during the sale period. M and M promised no increase until 12th January. Whether we’ll see more of these promotions in January is debatable--already our tracker has logged some catalogues doing so. Though with two of the examples holding prices for just a couple weeks and leading retailer Next openly admitting it is increasing its prices by approximately 8 percent this year, it won’t be a popular promotion for long.--MT
The Catalogue Log by the numbers
To be in mail order, you’ve got to love data, so here’s a roundup of Catalogue Log stats from 2010 just for you:
- In total Catalogue e-business logged in 1332 catalogues in 2010. That’s 144 fewer than we received in 2009, representing a 10 percent drop.
- Once again September was the month with the greatest volume, when a total of 185 catalogues were tallied. In April we received just 61 catalogues.
- In August, just 34.4 percent of the catalogues we received made no mention of a special offer on the cover. The least promotional month was November, when more than half of covers featured no special offers.
- July saw the highest percentage of catalogues promoting a sale or discount on their covers, 49.5 percent. In contrast, November touted the fewest price-related offers, just 27.5 percent.
- Free delivery was most popular in September, promoted on 24.3 percent of all covers. It was least popular in July, with only 12.1 percent of catalogues offering some sort of free p&p offer.
- We also tracked how many catalogues offered a free gift. The promotion was particularly popular in May, when 1 in 5 of the catalogues we logged in promised a freebie on the front cover. Free gifts were least popular during the festive season—only 6.1 percent of the catalogues we received in December gave away a gift with purchase.