Apparel, Gift Lists Most Popular For Holiday Mailers

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Lists of apparel and gift merchandise buyers were the most requested by holiday mailers this year, according to a survey of five list management firms.

Firms were asked which categories of lists saw the most usage by mailers that send catalogs and other offers during the September to December period. Since mailers tend to plan well ahead for the peak holiday season, results reflect list orders that were placed primarily between May and September.

Howard Kupfer, senior vice president at Mokyrnski & Associates, Hackensack, NJ, was not surprised by the findings.

"The majority of [list renters] are general merchandise and gift mailers, and a lot of apparel [mailers]," he said. "In general, all categories are used heavily during this time of the year."

Donna Hamilton, account manager in list management for the Millard Group, Peterborough, NH, said accessories, apparel, food, health magazine and newsletter mailers made more use of both catalog and publishing lists with catalog lists seeing the biggest increase. Apparel and home catalogs saw the most usage. Fundraisers and membership mailers also increased their usage of catalog files, which Hamilton attributed to anticipation of the postal rate increases.

"These are the ones that jumped out at me," Hamilton said. "But the growth has been across the board. Mailers are more aggressive and there are a lot more people in the mail."

Karen Goldfarb, account executive for Venture Direct, New York, saw a big increase in requests for buyers of sports merchandise from the catalogs of Genesis Direct. On the business-to-business side, she said the subscriber files to Sales & Marketing Management and Adweek were popular for greeting cards and gift mailers.

Elaine Zito, advertising director for List Services Corp., Bethel, CT, said BTB lists made a strong comeback in 1998.

Among consumer files at LSC, teen and young adult lists saw healthy growth in usage from catalogers and credit card mailers. Zito said the firm's most upscale files saw strong testing and continuation from catalogers, publishers, women's apparel mailers and fundraisers.

Jay Schwedelson, corporate vice president at hi-tech list firm Worldata, Boca Raton, FL, said a lot of major interactive product mailers were looking to reach savvy Internet consumers and computer-literate families this year. They did so by renting the lists of Prodigy subscribers and Grolier Interactive and Creative Labs buyers.

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