Though by the numbers it may not seem that consumer catalog lists have made great strides in adding names to their universes for 2005, this category leads other types of consumer files on the market in year-over-year growth, according to list brokerage ParadyszMatera's latest list universe report.
“Overall, the combined universe for consumer catalogs stood at 166.5 million for 4Q 2005, up 2.95 million names, or 1.8 percent, from 4Q 2004,” said Glenn Lalich, vice president, research and analysis, at ParadyszMatera, New York. “In terms of available names, it remains the second-largest consumer category after publishing at 227.9 million. While the growth in total names across all consumer buyer files is modest, the [catalog] category is stronger overall than other sectors like publishing and fundraising, which both saw declines.”
Online shopping also played a role in the expansion of many catalog lists, he added.
“Some of the merchandise category's relative strength stems from Internet-generated names — either from mailers finally releasing these names to the rental market, increased Web and multichannel sales, or both,” Lalich said. “Both apparel and merchandise catalog sectors grew at roughly the same rate.”
ParadyszMatera maintains a database of 12-month list universe counts on 76,000 properties through its research division. The company ranks the top catalogs by percentage and volume increases quarterly in the home, apparel and gifts/collectibles categories. It generates top-five rankings in other categories such as general merchandise. ParadyszMatera produces its MarketTrends consumer catalog reports quarterly through its proprietary MarketRelevance direct mail promotion-tracking tool.
Looking to specific categories of consumer catalogs, multi-title cataloger Coldwater Creek claimed the top spot in the apparel category by percentage growth in the fourth quarter of 2005 with its Coldwater Creek Spirit file.
Coldwater Creek Spirit grew 76.9 percent for Q4 2005 to 844,558 last-12-month names from 477,420 last-12-month names in Q4 2004. The file is 94 percent female with an average order of $170. It is managed by Millard Group Inc., Peterborough, NH.
Horchow Home retained the top position from the third quarter in the home category based on percentage growth with an increase of 119.4 percent, reaching 43,230 last-12-month buyers for Q4 2005 versus 19,700 in Q4 2004.
The Horchow Home file is 80 percent female with an average household income of $125,000 and an average order of $140. It is managed by American List Counsel, Princeton, NJ.
In the gifts/collectibles category, Music Stand held its ground from the previous two quarters as the largest percentage grower. It jumped 154.4 percent to 90,176 last-12-month buyers for Q4 2005 compared with 35,443 for Q4 2004.
The Music Stand list is 80 percent female with an average age range of 35-60, an average income range of $35,000-$50,000 and an average order of $55.
In terms of volume growth, other titles ranked highest in each category. L.L. Bean kept the No. 1 rank in apparel for another quarter, growing by 425,155 names from 3.92 million last-12-month names in Q4 2004 to 4.35 million in Q4 2005.
In the home category, Domestications was the biggest climber by volume, rising from 747,027 last-12-month names in Q4 2004 to 888,896 in Q4 2005. Collections Etc. kept the lead for largest volume increase for its segment, gaining 616,241 names from 1.93 million gifts/collectibles buyers in Q4 2004 to 2.55 million in Q4 2005.
The largest last-12-month files overall in Q4 2005 by category were unchanged from the previous quarter. Victoria's Secret led apparel with 4.79 million, Pottery Barn topped home with 1.63 million and Collections Etc. ruled gifts/collectibles with 2.55 million.