Consumers still booking catalog sales, even in a digital era

Retailers say catalogs compliment e-commerce sales and consumers haven't given up on the experience of thumbing through a catalog at the end of the day.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: April 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm •  Published: April 4, 2013
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Consumers still like thumbing through a good, old-fashioned catalog.

A recent survey on fashion trends found 15 percent of consumers ordered clothing through mail-in catalogs, despite the plethora of digital options, according to PriceGrabber. And though 57 percent shop online, retailers say their catalogs often complement online sales, drawing customers to their website to purchase an item they saw in a catalog.

While e-commerce has come a long way, it's still difficult to “browse” clothing on the web.

Oklahoma City businesswoman Teresa Moisant says flipping through one of the many catalogs she receives in the mail is a release at the end of the day.

“It's sort of a way to take me out of the real world,” she said. To support local businesses, she will, however, try to find an item she likes in a local store before ordering directly from the company.

Production is up

For Quad/Graphics, a Wisconsin-based printing company with a 1 million-square-foot plant in Oklahoma City, catalogs are the second-largest product line, behind retail inserts. Customers include J. Crew, Crate & Barrel, TOMS shoes, Mary Kay and Fossil.

Mike DeHart, who manages the Oklahoma City facility, said there's a reason many consumers are seeing more catalogs in their mailboxes lately.

“When the economy got really bad in 2008 and 2009, catalogers would reduce circulation because consumers weren't buying at the level they were in the past,” he said. However, production is back up.

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by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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Consumer confidence seems to be growing and that could bode well for catalogers. E-marketing alone gets lost in a blizzard of offers that the average consumer cannot easily manage or filter. Print is literally much more engaging and hands-on.”

Claire Ho,
A spokeswoman for Quad/Graphics

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