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Why Printed Catalogs Are Making A Comeback

Time: 2023-11-16 Hits: 125

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With the rise of e-commerce and digital marketing, one might assume that traditional print media is becoming obsolete. However, the reality is quite the opposite. Printed catalogs are experiencing a resurgence. As a professional in the print industry, I have witnessed this shift firsthand and believe that it’s an exciting time for catalog printing. In this article, I will explore the reasons behind this comeback, the effectiveness of printed catalogs, and the process of printing valuable catalogs.

How did the printed catalog comeback?

Because of the Great Recession and the rise of a digital economy. Once hailed as an important marketing strategy and sales driver in the retail industry. Print catalog production declined in the first decade of the 21st century as marketers sought cost-effective results. According to the Data & Marketing Institute, marketers mailed 11.9 billion catalogs in 2013, and total catalog circulation is well below the peak of 19.6 billion in 2007.

But in an era of explosive growth in online purchasing, retailers and shoppers are showing a new interest in rudimentary purchasing devices that use paper instead of pixels.

According to CNBC, Millennials enjoy catalogs more than other age groups. David Sharp of the Associated Press reports that “the catalog industry is rebounding, in part because of an unlikely group: Young shoppers who find it sometimes easier and more satisfying to turn pages rather than click on links. People are satisfied, even nostalgic.” For millennial shoppers who grew up with smartphones, printed catalogs are even more novel. They offer moments of rest, relaxation and solitude from the constant digital chaos, while inspiring desire and brand loyalty. A high-quality catalog can provide a tactile, focused experience not possible on a screen.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “Bonobos shows that 20% of first-time buyers who placed an order after receiving a catalog. They spent 1.5 times than first-time buyers who did not receive a catalog.”

The comeback of printed catalogs can be attributed to a combination of factors, including nostalgia, sensory appeal, and a shift in consumer behavior. In a world inundated with digital content, printed catalogs offer a tangible and tactile experience that cannot be replicated online. The act of flipping through the pages of a beautifully designed catalog can evoke a sense of nostalgia and provide a break from screen time, offering a refreshing and immersive shopping experience.

Moreover, the resurgence of printed catalogs can also be linked to the concept of “retailtainment,” where retailers are seeking to create engaging and memorable experiences for their customers. By leveraging the physicality of printed catalogs, brands can tell compelling stories, showcase their products in a visually appealing manner, and create a lasting impression that extends beyond the digital realm.

custom printed catalog

Are printed catalogs still work?

Despite the prevalence of digital marketing channels, printed catalogs continue to be an effective tool for reaching and engaging customers. According to data released by the Data & Marketing Institute, more than 1 million U.S. residents make purchases from print catalogs, and 69% of them consult a print catalog before making a purchase. According to reports, 65% of Millennials admit to using them to make purchasing decisions. In light of this resurgence, JCPenney recently revived its iconic print catalog as it found it drove internet sales.

In the digital age, printed catalogs offer a welcome break from the constant barrage of online advertisements and emails, allowing for a more focused and immersive browsing experience. This tangible interaction with a brand’s offerings can lead to a deeper connection and greater recall compared to fleeting digital encounters.

According to the results of an international survey by Two Sides, 68% of global respondents said they do not pay attention to online advertising, and 62% found these ads to be annoying and often irrelevant. 57% of global respondents try to block or avoid online advertising.

In comparison, 54% of U.S. customers are more likely to take action after seeing an ad in a print newspaper or magazine than after seeing the same ad online.

A survey included in a recent DMA report found that nearly a third of respondents said access to catalogs prompted them to shop online.

Moreover, printed catalogs serve as a versatile marketing tool that can complement digital efforts and contribute to a cohesive omnichannel strategy. By integrating printed catalogs into a brand’s marketing mix, businesses can leverage the strengths of both print and digital mediums to create a more impactful and memorable customer experience.

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5 reasons catalogs are making a comeback

Tactile experience: Printed catalogs provide a sensory experience that digital mediums cannot replicate. The physical act of flipping through pages and feeling the texture of the paper creates a unique and memorable interaction with the content.

Cutting through digital noise: In a digital world filled with online ads and email promotions. Printed catalogs stand out as a less intrusive and more personal way to engage with consumers. Furthermore, the tactile nature of catalogs provides a sense of legitimacy and trust. As consumers perceive printed materials as more credible and reliable than digital advertisements.

Integration of digital technologies: Many brands are leveraging augmented reality and QR codes within their printed catalogs to create interactive and engaging experiences for consumers. By incorporating augmented reality and interactive elements, printed catalogs are evolving to offer a marketing techlogy and engaging experience that resonates with modern consumers.

Impact on consumer behavior: Research has consistently shown that printed catalogs have a tangible impact on purchasing decisions, with a significant percentage of recipients making direct purchases from the catalog.

Driving online traffic: Printed catalogs serve as a bridge between the physical and digital realms, driving traffic to online stores and providing a seamless omnichannel shopping experience for consumers.

How to print a valuable catalog?

Creating a valuable directory requires a thoughtful approach that takes design, content, and marketing strategy into consideration. When creating a print catalog, you must consider your target audience and intended goals. The design must be attractive, organized and reflective of the brand, while the content must be relevant, informative and persuasive.

Also, it is crucial to choose products that are highlighted in the catalog. When choosing products to showcase, it is important to consider variety, relevance to your target audience, and the ability to generate interest and desire. A careful balance of popular products, new arrivals and special offers can increase catalog appeal and boost sales.

Another aspect to consider is the integration of the print catalog with other marketing activities. Consistency of brand messaging and identity across channels is critical to maximizing catalog impact and ensuring it effectively aligns with other online and offline marketing strategies.

Last, it is a key to work with a reputable printing company that specializes in catalog printing. Conducting thorough research and due diligence to identify a printing partner with a proven track record of delivering exceptional quality and service is crucial. Besides, collaborating with a printing company that has experience in handling international clients and shipping logistics is paramount to ensuring a smooth and efficient printing process.

print catalog in china

How much does it cost to print a catalog?

The cost of printing a catalog can vary depending on a multitude of factors, including the size, paper quality, binding, quantity, and additional design elements. When considering the cost to print a catalog, you must consider the following key factors:

Size and page count: The physical dimensions and the number of pages in the catalog significantly impact the printing cost. Larger catalogs with more pages need more materials and production time, resulting in higher printing expenses.

Paper quality and finish: The choice of paper stock and finish, such as matte, glossy, or textured, plays an important role in determining the printing cost. Higher quality paper and specialized finishes will result in a higher overall cost.

Binding and finishing: The binding method and extra finishing options, such as laminating, foil stamping or die-cutting, contribute to the cost of printing a catalog. Complex binding and finishing techniques incur more expenses. But can enhance the visual appeal of the catalog.

Quantity: Printing a larger quantity of catalogs typically leads to a lower cost per unit. Because bulk production offers economies of scale. However, smaller print runs may be more cost-effective for targeted marketing campaigns or limited product releases.

Design and customization: Intricate design elements, such as custom illustrations, photography, and graphic embellishments. These can impact the overall cost of printing a catalog. Additionally, the inclusion of interactive features or augmented reality capabilities may require specialized printing processes, affecting the cost.


In conclusion, the resurgence of printed catalogs presents exciting opportunities for brands to engage consumers in a tangible and memorable way. By leveraging the unique sensory appeal and storytelling potential of printed materials, businesses can create impactful marketing assets that complement their digital efforts and resonate with audiences. When considering print catalog in China, it’s essential to partner with experienced professionals who can deliver high-quality results while optimizing production costs. As the print industry continues to evolve, printed catalogs stand out as a timeless and effective tool for connecting with customers and driving meaningful interactions.

To explore the possibilities of printing a captivating catalog in China and learn more about the cost-effective solutions available, contact our team today.

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  1. Print and Paper Packs a Punch in a Digital World, By The Two Sides Team October 3, 2017
  2. Catalog retailers see reason for optimism after declines, By DAVID SHARP January 4, 2020
  3. Why Online Retailers Like Bonobos, Boden, Athleta Mail So Many Catalogs, Elizabeth Holmes, Updated April 16, 2014
  4. The old-fashioned mail-order catalog is making a comeback, BY RONALD D. NOV. 23, 2017
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