From scrapbooking supplies to Coach bags, and catalog consolidation to television advertising, 2005 is ushering in some interesting trends for catalogers. Ben Perez, president of list brokerage and management firm Millard Group, and programming chairperson of The Direct Marketing Association’s Catalog Council, sees the following merchandise and industry trends that catalogers should be watching.
1. Luxury items are still hot, and mass marketers are doing well. “It’s the middle slice of the market that will continue to have trouble,” said Perez during his presentation at the Catalog-on-the-Road conference, held in Cambridge, Mass., in February.
2. Scrapbooking is hot. “Collecting is becoming a popular activity,” he observed. “Things like photo albums and storage systems are becoming popular products because baby boomers are starting to save their memories for their kids.”
3. Offer gift cards. In 2004, he noted, 8 percent of all holiday retail sales were in gift certificates and gift cards. “They’re now wanted gifts,” he said. “Every cataloger should make it an extension of their services.”
4. Look for continued consolidation among catalogs and vendors. “Older entrepreneurs are going to begin to sell the companies they founded,” Perez observed. “And many companies will need to expand their scale just to stay competitive.”
5. Look for increased governmental scrutinty of advertising and marketing practices.
6. Catalogers will begin to spread their advertising dollars around to other forms of media, such as billboards, television, e-mail and Web ads, said Perez.