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Study: Catalogs Expect to More Than Double Online Sales in '99

Catalog marketers expect to generate five percent of their sales on the Internet this year -- more than double their online sales in 1998, according to a study released by the Direct Marketing Association (The DMA).

The DMA State of the Catalog Industry Report: 1999 said that in 1998, the Internet accounted for just two percent of sales.

The study also shows that 85 percent of consumer catalogs respond to customer e-mail within one day or less, a practice that could be a key to enhancing customer relationships and sales during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Other study findings show that:

  • 85 percent of catalogers have an active presence on the Internet, including 79 percent of consumer catalogs, 71 percent of business-to-business titles and 94 percent of catalogs that market to both consumers and businesses
  • Most catalogs (60 percent) with a Web presence have been online for one to three years, while 17 percent have been online for more than three years.
  • Catalogers are using the Internet for lead generation (75 percent), sales generation (71 percent), customer service (48 percent), and inventory liquidation (40 percent).
  • 60 percent of catalogs offered online transactions in 1998, including 73 percent of consumer catalogs, 50 percent of business-to-business catalogs, and 53 percent of catalogs that market to both consumers and businesses.

The study contains an analysis of the U.S. catalog industry's financial, marketing, merchandising and operating standards, along with updated economic forecasts for industry ad expenditures, revenue and employment through 2004. The study is conducted annually by The DMA with the cooperation of W.A. Dean & Associates.

The DMA is a trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,600 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. The DMA also operates a consumer Web site at www.shopthenet.org.