Men's, Women's Apparel Catalogs Drop in Share

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Catalogs offering women's and men's combined apparel saw the greatest decline in overall market share but remained among the top five categories of mail-order products during the 12 months ended April 30, according to a report released last week by Abacus Direct Corp., Westminster, CO.

The Abacus Consumer Catalog Buying Trend Report divided catalogs into 17 categories based on their product offerings and studied the historical catalog buying behavior using data from catalogs that participate in its alliance. The alliance has now reached more than 1,000 members.

The top five catalog categories for dollar share were women's apparel, shoes and accessories; home; gifts; women's and men's combined apparel; and electronics, tools and gadgets. The first four categories also ranked among the top five categories for transaction and household share.

Catalogs that offer women's and men's combined apparel experienced a 5.9 percent decrease in dollar share, a 3.5 percent decrease in transaction share and a 3.8 percent decrease in household share to give the category the largest overall market share decrease. The decrease was attributed to a decline in the number of households purchasing, a smaller average order size and less frequent ordering.

On the positive side, catalogs that sell auto parts and accessories; books, music and videos; specialty foods and beverages; children's apparel and merchandise; and health and beauty products ranked as the top five categories for dollar share growth. Three of those -- books, music and videos; specialty foods and beverages; and health and beauty products -- also ranked among the top five categories for growth in transaction share and household share.

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