Catalog Customers Average 15 Buys Annually, Rate Experience Highly

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U.S. catalog shoppers averaged 15 catalog purchases last year, according to "Customer Audit of Catalog Performance," a study released yesterday by the Direct Marketing Association.

Last year, 30 percent of catalog shoppers made six to 10 purchases, 31 percent made 11 to 25 purchases and 11 percent placed 26 or more orders. Consumers spent an average of $135 on their most recent catalog order.

Catalogers generate more than 37 percent of their annual sales during the holiday season, according to the DMA. Other results of the survey included:

· Respondents indicated they likely would order during the next six months from the catalog from which they made their most recent purchase, rating the likelihood of a near-term purchase at nearly eight on a 10-point scale.

· Shoppers tend to keep catalogs in their homes, with 46 percent of consumers holding onto catalogs for more than three months, or until a replacement arrives.

· Consumers gave nearly perfect ratings of nine out of 10 to their overall catalog shopping experience and to the quality of customer service provided by the company.

· Customers who returned or exchanged an item were very satisfied with the process. While 13 percent returned or exchanged an item, they rated the ease of returns and product exchanges at nearly nine out of 10.

· While 69 percent placed their most recent catalog order via telephone, 14 percent ordered from the catalog's Web site.

· Forty-one percent of catalog shoppers also shopped online during the past year.

The study was based on interviews with 4,794 consumers who bought from at least one of 21 catalogs during December 2001 and January 2002.

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