Saturday, June 15, 2024

How Aussies are using catalogues

Almost half of surveyed Australian shoppers (48%) have identified catalogues as their most used source of information when planning where to shop, according to new research. This is only outweighed by internet search (57%).

The commissioned survey into consumers’ path to purchase from ShopFully and Nielsen Media Analytics, revealed that four in five surveyed Australians (80%) rely on digital platforms (internet search, digital catalogues, online reviews, blogs, social media) to inform their purchase decisions.

Three in four (75%) respondents shared they ‘always’ or ‘sometimes’ use catalogues to decide what products to buy, with 54% of them doing so to curb the cost of living and save money.

Digital catalogues

The research highlights that digital catalogues are firmly taking over the traditional paper copy, with 66% of surveyed catalogue readers browsing the digital format at least once a week, compared to just 46% reading physical catalogues at the same frequency.

ShopFully Country Manager of Australia Brendan Straw says the evolution of the digital catalogue is fast surpassing its paper equivalent.

“The spike we’re observing in digital-only catalogue readers speaks for itself as Australian consumers continue to signal to retailers their preference for online formats,” he says. “In fact, the weekly readership frequency of digital catalogues has increased from 57% in 2021 to 66% in 2023. With its paper counterpart declining from 53% to 46% over the same period.”

The surge in digital catalogue uptake can be attributed to factors identified by surveyed shoppers including:

  • Convenience (51%)
  • Environmental friendliness/reduced paper wastage (46%)
  • The simple fact that they’re easier to find (37%)

Australian shoppers are also said to be paying more attention to retailer special offers. On average, they are spending 8.1 minutes viewing digital catalogues, with paper trailing behind at 7.2 minutes.

Interestingly, says Shopfully, millennials have exposed themselves as the most engaged generation in digital catalogues, with shoppers aged 25-39 browsing them on average 2.7 times a week, followed closely by gen Z aged 18-24 doing so 2.5 times a week.

The decline in digital catalogue readership observed for those aged 40-plus dropping to less than twice a week, according to Shopfully, suggests the future of the catalogue will heavily rely on digital as younger generations reveal their preference for paperless.

“Australian shoppers are rediscovering the joy of physical retail, returning to brick-and-mortar stores in strong numbers, however, these same shoppers continue to live on digital platforms,” says Mr Straw.

“Retailers must capitalise on the opportunity to meet their customers at this intersection, utilising digital catalogues as a tool to drive consumers in-store and increase conversion rates.

“The modern-day catalogue in its most engaging format enriched with videos, GIFs and recipe ideas has shown to unlock a haven of consumer insights dubbing the format as a data catalogue. Retailers leveraging the strategic utilisation of digital catalogues can uncover how shoppers connect with specials down to the specific product and brand, and gain insight into what influences shoppers to follow through on in-store purchases.”

Retail breakdown

Across all retail categories, the research identifies catalogues as driving maximum purchase completion, when compared to alternative methods such as TV advertising, online ads and social media.

In 2023, digital catalogues convinced 31% of surveyed readers to purchase any product from grocery stores, ranking as the top drive-to-purchase channel within the grocery category.

This is also true across electronics (34%), department stores (33%), home and office (28%), health and beauty (25%), liquor (24%) and hardware and DIY (24%).

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