Royal Mail finds a nation of home shoppers

Two-thirds of consumers consult a catalogue before buying a product or service, underlining the importance of an integrated, multi-channel approach to distance selling.

The Royal Mail Home Shopping Tracker 2009 found 63 per cent of consumers using catalogues in their buying decisions, whether they eventually purchase online or in-store. That is an increase of 9 per cent over the previous year.

Among consumers who go on to purchase online, 45 per look at a printed catalogue from some source beforehand (up 8 per cent on 2008). A catalogue that had been posted to the consumer was used by 37 per cent of online buyers (up 11 per cent on the previous year).

Channel preferences among cataloguers are also pronounced. A majority (52 per cent) prefer to receive catalogues by post, rather than picking them up in-store, which just 18 per cent prefer.

The survey found that only 17 per cent of consumers go straight to a store to make a purchase without carrying out any form of research online or in a catalogue. Buying from a catalogue having browsed in-store was identified among 24 per cent, while 21 per cent of catalogue buyers also research online and 5 per cent use home shopping TV channels.

Antony Miller, head of media development at Royal Mail, says: “Despite the growth of online retail, the print catalogue still plays a key role for many home shoppers who use them to buy and browse as well as seeking inspiration for new ideas. It is also clear that multichannel shopping is becoming the preferred method for most home shoppers as they research the best deals and consider the convenience of buying remotely.”

Latest from Marketing Week

Tesco, M&S, Just Eat: 5 things that mattered this week and why


M&S chief outlines digital-first strategy after profits plummet Marks & Spencer (M&S) is gearing up for a digital-first future, after its revealed on Wednesday (23 May) that profits had dropped a massive 62.1% to £66.8m compared to the previous year. A day earlier, the struggling retailer confirmed it will close more than 100 stores over […]


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here