Flashback a few days ago at my house...
Ding Dong. "Herumff", I grunted, doing my best J. Jonah Jameson (of Spider-man) imitation, There's the mailman again. "Marrrryyy!!! Could you get the door? I'm busy."
"Yes hold on", as Mary rushes to the door and opens it. "Hi!, oh these are for us?, Mary asks the mailman. "Let me ask you something. Why do you keep coming to the door instead of dropping it in the mailbox?" The mailman who speaks broken English and is obviously in a hurry, just hands her a stack of catalogs and jogs back to his truck.
"Mare, he rings the doorbell everyday and leaves a giant stack of catalogs. And, it is getting worse everyday. With all of the shopping you do, these catalogs are multiplying like rabbits right before Easter." End of flashback.
It is true, the amount of catalogs have exploded at my house. At first I thought it was because we put ourselves on the national do not call list a few years back, proving out a warning my father in-law gave me when he said "the amount of catalogs will explode once you land on the DNC list." My only guess now is that the retailers, especially the catalog intense ones, have tied their catalog sales tracking with their e-Commerce. And, besides that, even above average on the tech scale people like my wife, don't walk around with the laptop glued to their, well...lap. So, some people actually flip through tons of these and as my wife says, "it is a lot more convenient than slogging through the internet" or another one which is "the internet is just a means to an end, an ordering end."
To further prove my wife's shopping habit is more the norm than not, comes this article in this week's Business Week called Catalogs, Catalogs, Everywhere. Interesting points in the article are:
- # catalogs mailed in 2005 grew 5.5% from 2004
- Victoria's Secret mailed out 400 million catalogs or 1.33 for every American and their online/catalog sales accounted for 28% of all sales.
- More progressive retailers are using catalogs to promote imagery using big glossy pages with resolutions that are not approachable by most home PCs.
- These same retailers don't print every item available, just the ones to paint the picture and then use the web to offer everything else.
My wife is the typical big-time shopper of 2006; use anything including catalogs and the web to get holiday gifts. The catalogs are everywhere, but we really do go through them because they are easier to flip through and get ideas. The internet as Mary said, is for completing the sale once you know what you want. Catalogs are not dead and I'm sure all postal carriers are rejoicing with the new weight reduction program the shopping community has put them on.