Wednesday, 2 February 2011

January Catalogue Log

Continuing the upward trend noted in November and December, in January 2011 we received more catalogues than we did in January 2010. We logged in 150 catalogues last month, an uplift of 14.5 percent on the previous year, when 131 catalogues were tallied by the Catalogue Log.

Of the 150 catalogues tracked last month, 44 percent promised some sort of sale or discount. This is comparable with January 2010 and December 2010, when we noted that 43.5 percent and 43.9 percent of catalogues, respectively, promoted a price-related deal.

In contrast, the percentage of free-delivery offers declined significantly compared to the previous months, from 21.2 percent in December to 16 percent last month. In January 2010, 21.4 percent of covers touted free shipping.

The percentage of catalogues offering a free gift, on the other hand, increased appreciably from December—from 6.1 percent to 16 percent last month. That’s the highest it’s been since May, when one in five catalogues promoted a gift with purchase.

Among our favourite offers in January were Lakeland’s free silicone cupcake cases and free delivery for orders of £20 or more—a rare treat from the kitchenware merchant. We also liked Natural Collection’s triple whammy offer of up to 75 percent off, free gift with orders of £40 or more and free delivery when you spend more than £60.

We also received 41 business-to-business catalogues during January, of which we liked packaging supplies marketer Rajapack’s new-look catalogue. Brightly coloured and packed (ahem) full of offers, the cover succeeded in catching our attention. We all know that “sell from the cover” is an established catalogue maxim, and Rajapack makes the most of it by featuring both product and benefit on the front cover.

Overall however, 42 percent of the catalogues we logged did not tout any promotions, discounts, or offers on their cover, which seems odd considering January is traditionally associated with a massive sale period. One of the main reasons for this is that we saw a number of new-season catalogues arrive in January including Boden’s Spring edition, Chiltern Seeds’ wonderfully illustrated Veg Book 2011, and Travelling2’s Spring edition. A final note to Habitat: sending us your Christmas gift guide in January is not big and it’s not clever.--MT

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