Catalog Sales Decline

  • by June 27, 2001
Catalog Sales Decline

Most indicators in the Abacus Spring 2001 Catalog Industry Trend Report showed declines of up to 4.5%. Between the years 1998 and 1999, among the members of the Abacus Merchants Alliance, consumer dollars spent increased by 21.8%, per household expenditures jumped by 15.3%, and transactions and order size rose by nearly 11% and 10%, respectively.

But between 1999 and 2000, the industry contracted, with dollars spent and transaction levels falling by 4.5%. In 2000, alliance members received $17.6 billion from 142 million transactions, down from $18.2 billion for 148 million transactions seen in 1999.

More than 15% of all households purchased low-ticket female apparel, while nearly 8% acquired high-ticket items. Ranked by total dollars spent, these two categories were first and second, respectively. Slightly more 10% of all households purchased discount domestic merchandise, defined in the report as gifts, accessories, clothing and home supplies that appeal to thrifty buyers.

Except for garage/home tools and supplies and high ticket/upscale gifts and merchandise, most of the top 25 categories tracked in 2000 showed declines in their growth rate among households making purchases.

In two-thirds of the households within the Abacus Alliance, the primary purchaser is female. The median household age is between 46-55, with an annual income between $50-$75,000, and has been at its residence for between six and 14 years.

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