Print catalogues reign supreme despite lockdown

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The Real Media Collective has released 2020 data showing the highest catalogue readership remains firmly in print, despite lockdown halting the channel being delivered to letterboxes during Covid-19.

Reign supreme: printed catalogues
Reign supreme: printed catalogues

Across Australia readership remains strong, and well in advance of digital options some retailers have explored. Roy Morgan has reported that of catalogues being read, an overwhelming 83 per cent of catalogues are read printed in hardcopy, compared to digital sitting at just 3 per cent.

In addition to readership percentages, the Audience Reach for printed catalogues remains steady at 20.1 million Australians.

Kellie Northwood, CEO at The Real Media Collective said, “The home delivered catalogue channel provides Australians with the opportunity to make well-researched and valued shopping choices on their own terms. People report catalogues as being a ‘useful’ media because they help them save money, compare products, research brands and build menus in their home environment.”

In addition the Roy Morgan Trust Index has revealed the top five most trusted bands are retailers who use strong catalogue marketing to reach their customers – Bunnings, Woolworths and Aldi. The other two in the top five, Qantas and NRMA, use the letterbox to communicate via loyalty and frequent flyer magazines.

'Thrilled': Kellie Northwood, executive director, Keep Me Posted 
Highest metrics: Kellie Northwood

“The astute retail marketers know how to use catalogues, they recognised how effective and welcomed the channel is, and what content to include to ensure the highest readership and engagement from Australians. With more than 50 per cent of Australians reading printed catalogues – given large periods of lockdown saw no catalogues delivered – readership remaining high throughout the non-lockdown period is impressive.

“In many catalogues FMCG wholesalers pay to have their products advertised, clearly these results show how important it is for those brands to be represented in print channels to ensure their brand is not forgotten or replaced with private label options,” said Northwood.

Roy Morgan figures report the top three retail sectors for catalogue readership show:

• 86 per cent of Australians who have read a print catalogue in the last four weeks, read or looked into a supermarket catalogue in the last four weeks.

• 63 per cent of Australians who have read a print catalogue in the last four weeks, read or looked into a department/discount store catalogue in the last four weeks.

• 54 per cent of Australians who have read a print catalogue in the last four weeks, read or looked into a furniture/hardware/electrical store catalogue in the last four weeks.

“Australians don’t live and breathe one media channel, we watch television, we listen to the radio, we read catalogues, we go online. We move between media all day, every day and because of this we see brands like Chemist Warehouse, Bunnings, Woolworths, Aldi and others using all channels to communicate their brand and product messages with the greatest impact for, in some cases, franchisors but also FMCG wholesalers. We have one of the highest reach metrics across all media channels, at 20.1 million Australians, bringing brands and products into the homes of every Australian,” commented Northwood.

Catalogues are revered by retailers as a ‘recession proofing’ channel. Following the GFC, catalogue volumes increased by 8.64 per cent and remained at these high volumes for a decade. Roy Morgan analysis of catalogue readership shows the channel has remained steady during a period of great media disruption, in fact since 2013 catalogues have realised an increase. TRMC says this performance, when compared to other channels, is impressive and testimony to retailers maintaining strong catalogue investment or moving away at their own risk.

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