Print is dying? Not so for retail catalogues

Print is dying? Not so for retail catalogues

Printed catalogues are more effective than their online counterparts in engaging with Australian retailers and consumers, new research from the Australian Catalogue Association (ACA) claims.

According to research conducted by Roy Morgan in the lead up to Christmas last year, over 70% of Australians aged 14 and over prefer reading printed catalogues over online catalogues.

The research also found that only 11% of Australians read catalogues online. While Australians aged 50 and over are most likely to read printed catalogues, 66% of those aged 24-35 also read printed catalogues.

Kellie Northwood, executive director of the ACA said: “There are great assumptions that the younger generations are more likely to purchase from digital marketing campaigns or online catalogues, however all the global research conducted doesn’t support this.

“People retain messaging and engage more intimately with paper-based communications – catalogues are no different.”

 “For consumers, catalogues bring the shop front to the kitchen table and assist in the pre-purchase decision-making.

“They encourage people to go to a store, and with the growth of digital consumers, they are driving people online either to make a purchase or do some research.”

But Northwood said the most effective use of catalogues was to team them with multi-channel communication plans.

“Letterbox drops supported by text messages, email campaigns, QR coding and more are delivering the highest return on investment for retailers.

According to the ACA, the reputation of print is suffering because of popular beliefs about its anti-environmental impact.

“Unfortunately, as part of the print industry, catalogues are often perceived to have a negative environmental impact in comparison to their digital and online counterparts,” said Northwood.

“Paper is an effective and environmental communications vehicle and is inherently sustainable – renewable and recyclable.

“Most likely due to the tangible nature of paper and the ‘invisibility’ of digital communication, consumers are often unaware of the impact on the environment their digital communication has. I often speak with people who are surprised to learn an online search for a contact emits three times more energy than a printed business card.”

Australian retailers spending $1.5bn annually on producing catalogues, representing approximately 60% of their advertising spend, according to Roy Morgan and ACA.


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