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.
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.