Study: Internet Catalog Sales Rise

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CHICAGO - Thirteen percent of all catalog sales last year were generated via the Internet.

That was the finding of the Direct Marketing Association's State of the Catalog/Interactive Industry Report 2001, which was released yesterday at the organization's fall show.

The number compares to the finding in 1999 when 9 percent of catalog sales were generated by interactive media.

Also revealed was that 95 percent of catalogers characterized themselves as multichannel retailers. Within that group, 45 percent described their firms as "catalog/Internet/retail" and 50 percent as "catalog/Internet. Two percent described themselves as "Internet only" and three percent as "catalog only."

Regarding the source of sales for catalogers, 13 percent of sales were attributed to the Web, 68 percent of sales resulted from print catalogs while 8 percent were generated by retail or outlet stores.

Also revealed was that 69 percent of catalogers measure the effectiveness of interactive media. Top measurements used to evaluate the results of Internet marketing are:

-- Sales generated from the Web site, 90 percent.

-- Increase in total sales as a result of the Web, 67 percent.

-- Hits on the home page, 58 percent.

-- Return on investment, 50 percent.

-- Leads generated by the Web, 43 percent.

Also, 72 percent of catalogers say greater visibility is the top benefit received from the use of interactive media. Other benefits include:

-- Increased revenues, 70 percent.

-- Ability to reach new customers, 70 percent.

-- Cost savings, 69 percent.

-- Time savings, 55 percent.

-- Better customer service, 52 percent.

-- New business opportunities, 49 percent.

Also, a seperate DMA report -- 2001 Economic Impact: U.S. Direct & Interactive Marketing Today -- included that sales revenue attributed to U.S. direct and interactive marketers is forecasted to exceed $1.86 trillion by the end of the year, representing a 9 percent increase over 2000 sales.

According to the report, the direct and interactive marketing industry can expect to see an increase of up to 8.3 percent in sales by 2006, compounded annually, reaching $2.8 trillion. During the same period, the report estimates that U.S. overall retail sales will increase 4.8 percent annually.

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