February 1, 2023

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It’s official: Catalogues aren’t dead

The number of Australian shoppers reading catalogues to find promotions and secure deals has increased to 68%, five percentage points up from 2021, according to new research from ShopFully and Nielsen Media Analytics.

The study highlights that shoppers are taking the time to plan shopping trips, with over half (57%) stating internet search as their top source of information, closely followed by digital catalogues (46%). Catalogues are a must-have for retailers looking to drive customers into store, with 45% of readers using them to plan and organise shopping lists ahead of time, and 44% doing so down to the specific store they intend to visit. 

In particular, Australian shoppers are serious about evaluating their electronic purchases with almost half (45%) of consumers turning to digital catalogues when deciding what electronics to purchase, with the average read time clocking in at 9.6 minutes,

Conversely, three in ten (30%) refer to online reviews and blogs when deciding what product to buy, while nearly one-quarter (24%) of those shopping for electronics have visited a physical store after reading a digital catalogue.

The research also found that Australians spend 15% more time reading digital catalogues than printed formats, and four in five (79%) consumers stated they use digital platforms to plan store visits.

ShopFully country manager of Australia, Dean Vocisano said the research shows a changing consumer demand that favours time and money put back into the pockets of Australian families. 

“Australians are feeling the pinch after another turbulent year. Our research reveals they’re warier than ever in their spending habits and are taking the time to meticulously plan their shopping lists to streamline purchasing and alleviate increased financial stresses,” he said.

“Here, catalogues continue to be a go-to for three-quarters (75%) of the country when they’re deciding what to purchase, with readers spending 8.3 minutes per week browsing retailers’ specials. Interestingly, Gen Z and Millennials are turning to digital catalogues the most, reading them 2.8 and 2.6 times per week respectively, which dispels any generational stereotypes about consumption and perhaps reflects just how much they’re feeling the effects of the rising cost of living.” 

The shift towards digital catalogue consumption has continued year on year, with 44% of Australian consumers who use digital catalogues reporting an increase in their readership, and two in three (66%) people perusing them at least once a week. Almost nine in ten (87%) Australians who increased their digital catalogue usage plan to continue reading them moving forward. 

Consumers who made the switch from paper identified convenience (48%) and environmental friendliness (42%) as their top reasons for preferring digital formats.