Catalogue shopping has been revived for the internet age, new research suggests.

A study by Experian Integrated Marketing found the widespread availability of high speed internet access and the anonymity provided by the internet has fuelled a growth in catalogue shopping.

Rather than abandoning traditional catalogues, the growth in online shopping has strengthened the traditional market.

Some 80 per cent of those surveyed said they used a paper catalogue for browsing before making their final purchase online.

Experian identified this as “flick to click” and said it could give catalogue retailers the edge over their online rivals.

“Brands realised that to stay ahead of online retailers they needed to have a ‘flick to click’ strategy and it’s paid off,” Mark Peacock, an analyst at Experian, told the Financial Times.

He continued: “Catalogues have a long shelf life and they are a permanent fixture in the majority of homes … as are computers, so consumers can flick through a catalogue on the sofa at any time and then go online to place an order quickly.

“It’s a devastatingly simple but highly effective marketing tactic.”

Experian identified a clear demographic shift, with catalogue shopping no longer the preserve of low-earners.

High street chain and high end stores have embraced the virtual highstreet, lending an air of respectability to catalogue shopping. Argos’ 1,778-page online catalogue has proven popular with upmarket clients, the survey found.

Some 70 per cent of those surveyed shopped at home, a trend Experian attributed to the availability of high speed broadband access.
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