Study reveals UK consumers love catalogues
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Post & Parcel
Almost two-thirds of UK consumers now consult a catalogue before buying products or services - an increase of 9% on the previous year, according to research by Royal Mail.
The Royal Mail Home Shopping Tracker 2009, which put the nation’s shopping habits under the microscope, found that 63% of people surveyed refer to a catalogue as part of their buying decision even if they make the final purchase in-store or online.
As the number of home shoppers seeking the best offers across all shopping channels increases, catalogues form an important part of the shopping process for even regular online shoppers. Some 45% look at a print catalogue before making an online purchase - an increase of eight% compared to 2008.
Posted catalogues in particular inform 37% of online purchases, an increase of 11% on 2008. For online shoppers, posted catalogues are most effective when it comes to browsing for clothes, furniture, toiletries and make-up.
Over half of all home shoppers (52%) prefer receiving catalogues sent to them through the post rather than picking them up in-store (18%). Even non-home shoppers connect with catalogues, with 68% favouring a posted or in-store catalogue - an increase of 12% on 2008.
Catalogues are kept for future reference or browsing by two-fifths of home shoppers and they remain in their homes for more than four months. Over half of those who hold on to their catalogues consider them useful for future reference.
Broader trends evident in the Home Shopping Tracker study reveal a growing tendency for shoppers to investigate purchases and compare prices across multiple retail channels:
• More than four out of five UK consumers (83%) research products and services through a catalogue or on the internet before making purchases, while only 17% go straight to a shop
• Of the 83%, the highest adopters of multichannel shopping are 16 to 34-year-olds
• 24% of catalogue shoppers will also browse purchases in-store, while 21% check websites and five% investigate items on home shopping TV channels
• Items most likely to be browsed online before purchase from a catalogue are clothing and homewares, at 13% and 12% respectively. Over one-fifth of catalogue shoppers will look elsewhere before buying.
Antony Miller, head of media development at Royal Mail, said: “Despite the growth of online retail, the print catalogue still plays a key role for many home shoppers who use them to buy and browse as well as seeking inspiration for new ideas.
“It is also clear that multichannel shopping is becoming the preferred method for most home shoppers as they research the best deals and consider the convenience of buying remotely.”
He added: “Catalogues and the internet offer a powerful combination of information, showing the importance of using the two channels together in the marketing mix.”