Part 3: August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day

August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day!

In case you’ve missed these past two days (go back and read the blogs!) August 18th was National Mail Order Catalog Day celebrating Aaron Montgomery Ward who started his catalog business in 1872.

I’ve been writing about the history of cataloging and I want to conclude this three-part series with catalogs in 2018.  Pretty darn awesome.  Catalogs did not die with the ubiquitous world wide web, catalogs drive revenue. Over the years we’ve learned that digital and print work very well together.

The catalog bandwagon is alive and making money.  Wanna see?

Amazon will launch a toy catalog to millions of US households in advance of the holiday season.

Wayfair catalog (Joss & Main) is the e-tailer’s latest customer touch point powered by quantitative and algorithm-based insights. They are now in “the age of the customer” and that has everything to do with a resurgence of the importance of direct mail.

Menswear brand Bonobos showed 20% of first-time buyers placed their orders after receiving a catalog, and they spent 1.5 times more than first-time buyers who did not receive a catalog.

In a survey conducted by Kurt Salmon, a global management consulting firm, 86% of women in the age range of 18 to 30 say they have bought an item after seeing it in a catalog.

According to “The Case for Direct Mail” from the USPS, 70% of consumers report reading their direct mail catalogs and spending an average of 15-20 minutes with each one.

Reading rates for direct mail is holding steady, with better than 75% of direct mail being read or scanned, the UPSP notes. Online giant Wayfair is following the data from the USPS:

And if you didn’t think catalogs worked, think about “digital fatigue.” The typical consumer who spends an average of eight seconds with a retail email, and sees an average of 1,900 digital ads each month

Ad blocking, ad fraud and the continuing lack of interest in digital ads means more of those marketing dollars are going to waste.

Oh, if Millennials are your target market, they love the imagery of a catalog and this generation likes to get mail because it’s new to them…they didn’t grow up with it.

Happy National Mail Order Catalog Day! Put down your screen and look at a catalog. Entice five senses (touch, smell the ink, see, hear the page turn.)  And then go online to make your purchase!


Gina Valentino
Dean of Marketing,
President, Hemisphere Marketing, LLC


Reading references online: