Online spending is expected to soar this holiday season, but don’t count out catalog shopping, which is holding steady after years of decline.
Approximately 9 percent of holiday purchases will be made by catalog in 2016 — the same percentage as last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
This marks the first time catalogs haven’t declined as a source of holiday spending since 2009, when 17 percent of purchases were made through mail-order publications.
The endurance of catalogs is one factor in the upbeat outlook for holiday spending this year, which the federation expects to rise 3.6 percent. “The economic spending power of the consumer is resilient,” Jack Kleinhenz, the organization’s chief economist, said.
The steady forecast for catalogs also reflects broader trends.
Catalog mailings rose in 2013 for the first time in six years, according to the Data and Marketing Association. Since then, several retailers have revived catalogs they once abandoned.
New catalogs are capturing shoppers’ attention, too. One example: Secret Catalog, a mail-order book of exclusive merchandise.
After consumers receive the catalog in the mail, they can go online and enter a secret password to place their orders.
“It’s old-fashioned yet modern,” New York magazine reported this week.