Americans who shop from catalogs are loyal mail-order shoppers, making an average of 15 catalog purchases each year, according to a new study from the Direct Marketing Association (The DMA, November 2002).
In 2001, 30 percent of catalog shoppers made between six and 10 purchases, 31 percent made between 11 and 25 purchases, while 11 percent placed 26 or more orders. On their most recent catalog order, shoppers spent an average of $135.
“This shows that once people get into the habit of buying by catalog, they become accustomed to the convenience of shopping on their own terms and choosing from the variety of products that is available,” said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. “This is especially apparent during the holiday season, when catalogers generate more than 37 percent of their annual sales.”
The survey also revealed that catalog companies are retaining customers and generating repeat business by providing the customer service that shoppers demand.
- Survey respondents indicated they would be likely to order in the next six months from the catalog from which they made their most recent purchase, rating the likelihood of a near-term purchase of nearly eight on a 10-point scale.
- Shoppers also tend to keep catalogs in their homes, with 46 percent of shoppers keeping catalogs for more than three months or until a replacement copy arrives.
- Consumers gave nearly perfect ratings of nine out of 10 to both their overall catalog shopping experience and the quality of customer service received from the company.
- Customers who returned or exchanged an item were very satisfied with the process. While only 13% returned or exchanged an item, they rated the ease of returns and product exchanges at nearly nine out of 10.
The study also shows the continued convergence of catalog and Internet shopping:
- While 69 percent placed their most recent catalog order via the telephone, 14 percent ordered from the catalog’s Web site.
- Forty-one percent of catalog shoppers had also shopped online during the last year.
The study was based on interviews with 4,794 consumers who purchased from at least one of 21 catalogs during December 2001 and January 2002.
DMA press release November 14, 2002