E-COMMERCE UP AS CATALOG PURCHASES DECLINE

Study Says Consumers Flock to Web for Shopping

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Consumer shopping is shifting from catalogs to the Web, according to the Fall 2001 Catalog Industry Report released by Abacus, a division of DoubleClick.

Catalog sales dropped 5.7% for the 12 months ended June 30. Although the number of households making catalog purchases remained the same -- 43 million -- the average order size went down.

Whereas catalog

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sales decreased, the percentage of Internet users buying online increased. In the last six months of 2001, 67% of Web users made an online purchase, up from 63% in the last half of 2000.

Abacus, which manages Abacus Alliance -- a proprietary database of consumer, retail, publishing and business-to-business transactions -- concluded that the decline in catalog sales and rise in Web purchasing indicates a shift in consumers' channel preference.

In addition, the study examined the impact of the Sept. 11 attacks on the catalog industry. Despite a short decline immediately following the attacks, dollar sales rose sharply on Sept. 21 and continued to surpass 2000 levels for five consecutive weeks.

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