Luckily for the printing and editorial industries, nostalgia is guiding the marketplace. While many predicted the death of the catalog, it is actually making a comeback.
A growing number of people have warm memories of perusing through the pages of their favorite mailing as a child, and they can now continue to enjoy browsing these catalog editions.
Catalogs are reemerging
The catalog that many Americans feel the closest to might be the one produced by J.C. Penney. The department store’s holiday issue tantalized children for decades with its bright, colorful pictures of clothes and toys.
Nearly six years ago, the catalog ceased being printed. However, the company recently announced that it will return, once again, to American mailboxes.
Kate Coultas, J.C. Penney spokeswoman, told NPR, “Our research has shown that our customers, particularly when it comes to looking at home merchandise, still prefer to browse a traditional print piece but then go online to order the item or go into our store.”
This proves that the classic publication still serves a valuable purpose.
The number of catalogs mailed increased between 2006 and 2013 to 11.9 billion, the Direct Market Association told NPR. This form of publication “continues to be strong,” and some outlets are using direct mailings for the first time.
According to the New York Times, “from Anthropologie to American Girl, Pottery Barn to Patagonia, retailers are still relying on direct mail even as they spend considerable resources on improving their websites to accommodate the steady increase in online shopping.”
“The classic publication still serves a valuable purpose.”
How catalogs will be different
Trish Hagood, who runs the largest online database of catalogs in the U.S. and Canada, told NPR that J.C. Penney will probably test out the frequency with which they send out mailings. “They’ll experiment with the versatility,” she told the news outlet. “They’re going to come out with other catalogs.”
This post has been updated for accuracy and relevance.
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