Catalogues Going Strong!

Posted by luke on

In the age of Groupon deals and ubiquitous YouTube advertising, it is easy to say that some of the more traditional forms of marketing have gone out the window.

Do people really sell things in the paper or garage sales anymore?

However, before you throw catalogues into this mix, you may want to stop for a second and consider some of the recent analytics from the Australian Catalogue Association.

The report stresses the notion that catalogues are still very relevant and are actually the most effective advertising medium for certain products.

“The communication landscape has changed dramatically in recent years and yet catalogues remain effective because of their primary function that is both relevant and valuable – they bring the shop front to the kitchen table.” – Australian Catalogue Association 2013

Catalogues currently reach 18.25 million Australians every week – and its reach has been steadily growing since June 2008. This makes it the fourth largest channel to market on, behind Newspapers, TV and Online. The increase in usage is partly attributed to the reduced cost to produce each unit (each physical catalogue). Unit costs have decreased 19% since 2008, making it more useable for marketers.

However the real question is, ‘what is the market segmentation for catalogues?’ Consistent market sector leaders are Grocery and Discount Variety, with Electrical, Specialty Retail and Furniture forming a second tier segment.

In terms of effectiveness the results were interesting.


Source: Australian Catalogue Association 2013


Source: Australian Catalogue Association 2013

It seems that the area where catalogues were the most effective in influencing purchase decisions were with grocery sales. This is most likely because groceries are a product that people constantly need. In an effort to save money, they will look for weekly deals inside catalogues. The area which catalogues had the least effect in was the sale of used cars. This makes sense, as high-end investments such as cars are unlikely to cause a huge effect on people, because people usually need to test these things in-person before they really consider buying them.

Another interesting fact about catalogues is that they are highly trusted. Across all age and socio-economic groups, catalogues are considered more trustworthy than online marketing channels. This probably comes down to the fact that catalogues are familiar. They have been an advertising staple for years and people are comfortable with them. Although online channels are highly utilised, in the wider history of advertising, they are still relatively new. There is something to be said about holding a tactile document like a catalogue to browse through products instead of a screen, and the results prove it.

Although it is rare that catalogues are used exclusively for campaigns, it is common for catalogues to be used as a part of a wider marketing campaign. You should consider integrating catalogue use into your next campaign if you believe that your product or service will benefit from it.

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