Catalogues keep their clout

26 November 2014

SYDNEY: Catalogues remain a valuable tool for reaching Australian consumers, six in ten of whom say these are the most effective advertising channel in influencing their purchasing decisions, a new report has said.

According to the 2014 Annual Industry Report from the Australasian Catalogue Association (ACA), catalogues have more influence on shoppers than television, email or the internet. It reported that 62% of Australians were swayed by them, ahead of television (52%) and press advertising (40%).

Catalogues also placed far ahead of personalised direct mail (29%), email marketing (25%) and social media advertising (17%).

Kellie Northwood, ACA executive director, drew attention to the disconnect between consumers' and marketers' views of what was influential. Some 69% of marketers ranked email marketing as the most influential channel, followed by TV advertising (56%) and personalised direct mail (54%).

"This [disconnect] is confirmed by the fact that of the top five influential channels ranked by Australians, three have experienced declines in advertising spend over the past year," she told B&T.

Overall, the report said that catalogues reached 19.6m Australians every week, which was more than the comparable figures for newspapers (16m), magazines (13.8m), free-to-air television (13.5m), commercial radio (9.7m) and pay TV (8m).

And engagement was high as catalogues, leaflets or brochures were regularly kept in the home for future reference by around six in ten consumers who could spend up to 30 minutes reading them during the course of a week.

A similar proportion were moved to visit online stores after doing so, highlighting a trend for online retailers to use offline methods to attract shoppers. Across all age groups, print catalogues were preferred to the online version. While this was most obvious with older consumers, even the younger ones were opting for print by a wide margin.

Among 25 to 34 year olds, 58% read print but only 12% read online, and for 14-24 year olds, 46% still chose print with less than 10% going online to view a catalogue.

Northwood expected that there would be an increasingly sophisticated level of engagement with consumers via catalogues in the future. "Augmented reality technologies are challenging marketers to think beyond the physical and engage consumers within a multi-channel and content-rich experience," she said.

Data sourced from ACA, B&T; additional content by Warc staff