Consumers back printed catalogues

Almost half of consumers say printed catalogues are the best source of information on buying groceries – two and a half times more than favour the internet.

Catalogues are also considered the most useful media for buying clothes, toys, alcohol and cosmetics, and are second only to the internet in nine other categories, according to new Roy Morgan research.

The survey of about 52,000 consumers over 2014 found massive advantages across the six categories, with 49 per cent citing catalogues as the media most useful when purchasing groceries versus the internet’s 20 per cent.

The gap was almost as wide for alcohol with 42 per cent favouring the printed medium vs 22 per cent for internet, children’s wear 40 per cent vs 25 per cent, toys 39 vs 31, cosmetics and toiletries 36 vs 26, and clothing and fashion 35 vs 28.

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Unfortunately for other printed media it is clearly a two-horse race between catalogues and the internet – with one of those two occupying top spot across every one of the 28 product categories.

In categories where catalogues win, the internet comes second. In all other categories, the internet wins.

The nine categories where catalogues rank second were: Appliances large and small, CDs, DVDs and books, car parts and accessories, home interiors and furnishings and entertainment and electronics, computers and computer supplies, and mobile phones and providers.

Roy Morgan general manager Tim Martin says the findings resonate with the increase seen in overall catalogue readership over the past year, with 54 per cent of Australians now reading at least one catalogue a week – up from 50 per cent in 2013.

“This actually now puts catalogues just ahead of hard copy newspapers which, excluding community newspapers, are read by 53 per cent of us in an average seven day period,” he says.

“In a media landscape that often just assumes people are turning to the internet for information when purchasing or selecting any product, catalogues in fact lead the way for more than 12 million Australians.”

Australasian Catalogue Association chief executive Kellie Northwood says the results are consistent with what the industry has been seeing for a long period of time – consumers look to catalogues when making purchasing decisions.

“Not only are they the media most useful, but research also indicates Australians spend a lot of time reading catalogues, 26 minutes each week on average and often keep catalogues in their home to refer to later,” she says.

“Continuing the conversation with your consumers is critical to marketing campaigns and brand equity strategies.”

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