Catalogs by the Numbers
A group of catalogers gathered last month in Arlington, Va., for the American Catalog Mailers Association’s inaugural National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum to voice their opinions on key issues affecting their industry, most notably postal rates. During this two-day event, some numbers were presented to illustrate the far-reaching scope and influence of the catalog industry. Here’s a look at what was discussed.
* The catalog industry, including online sales, had an overall economic value of $270 billion (2006 estimate), approximately 2 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product;
* 20,000 is the approximate number of catalog companies in the U.S.;
* 3 million (2006 estimate) people are employed by the catalog industry;
* 20 million (2006 estimate) catalogs are mailed annually in the U.S.;
* profitability for the catalog industry generally averages 5 percent of total sales;
* catalogs account for nearly 10 percent of all mail volume for the USPS;
* postage is the largest cost item for most catalogers. For B-to-C catalogs, it ranges from 12 percent to 32 percent of total costs, with 17 percent the average. For B-to-B catalogs, it ranges from 4 percent to 12 percent of total costs, with an average of 7 percent;
* approximately 50 percent of Americans purchase from catalogs;
* 20 percent to 50 percent is the average percentage of orders catalog companies receive from the Internet; and
* consumers aged 45-54 represent the largest percentage of catalog customers, trailed by the following age groups (in order): 65-plus, 55-64, 35-44, 25-34 and 18-24.
For more information, go to www.catalogmailers.org .