Catalog Shopping Reigns Supreme as Marketing Media of Choice During Christmas

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Move over, email marketing. Print isn’t dead, especially during Christmas. Those revered deluxe version Sears and JC Penney catalogs we anticipated each holiday season are back and popular as ever. And a growing number of retailers are jumping into the fray.

Uncertain their emails aren’t being buried in the holiday swell, and increasingly dissatisfied with high prices and ho-hum results from platforms like Facebook, retailers are turning to the time tested venue of holiday catalogs to communicate their message.

Print marketing has come back into favor in the last few years, and justifiably so. Catalogs not only have a deep and nostalgic history as part of the Christmas season. They provide a definitive opportunity to connect directly with consumers. There’s no delete button to simply swipe and leave a communication unopened. Recipients have to see and physically touch a print catalog when opening the mailbox and sorting its contents. Retailers hope their catalog covers adorned with colorful arrays and enticing holiday scenes will spark your interest to look further – or at least motivate you to set the piece on a countertop or coffee table to peruse later.

Chad Lusk, a senior director at Alvarez & Marsal’s Consumer and Retail Group, says going the catalog route is more immersive and emotional, and connects with consumers on a more personal level. It “delivers an opportunity to immerse in a brand’s world. You can almost taste the hot chocolate while someone’s sitting under their Pottery Barn blankets staring at their mantelpieces, drinking out of a Pottery Barn mug … it’s an experience and emotional.”

Catalogs have other big advantages for Christmas shoppers. While online shopping can be quick and efficient if you already know exactly what you want, it doesn’t lend well to perusing or exploring creative gift ideas. Says Lusk, “Catalogs serve to assemble these curated collections of goods that effectively trigger ideas…They become more inspiration-driven.”

With so many brands online competing for attention in your email inbox, retailers are counting on connecting with consumers through festive catalog marketing to break through the clutter. Does this strategy work? Where are customers doing the bulk of their Christmas shopping? To find out more and see how your shopping habits compare, keep reading here:

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