Catalogues: cosmetics’ number one

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By Kellie Northwood, CEO, Australasian Catalogue Association

With Australia’s population increasing at one of the fastest rates in the developed world, health care needs are on the rise as well as the number of pharmacists.

In 2016, the Pharmacy, Cosmetics and Toiletries retail sectors added up close to $20 billion in revenue in Australia and growth is expected in the years to come. To not be left behind in this fast-moving industry, it is critical for retailers to know which media channels drive sales efficiently. Catalogues rank first as the media most useful when making a purchasing decision in the Cosmetics and Toiletries sector at 34 per cent. They outperform the internet (30 per cent) as the most useful media in the path-to-purchase of Australian consumers, way ahead of magazines which come third with 9 per cent, and television which is fourth with only fourth per cent.

Not only are catalogues the most proficient media channels in the path-to-purchase for the Cosmetics sector, they also deliver amazing results in terms of ROI:

  • Unit price averaging 18.2c;
  • Readership at 69 per cent of unaddressed catalogues;
  • Audience reach of 21.8 million Australians in 2016.

More than ever, catalogues are a strong performing media channel, and it is particularly true in the pharmacy sector with more than one in four Australians having read a pharmacy catalogue in the last 4 weeks.

Pharmacy catalogues outperform other media because customers and retailers have built a perfect blend of communication –  it’s working for them both in brand awareness but most critically in delivering strong sales results.

With 75 per cent of Australians spending 20 minutes per week reading catalogues, they offer the brands a significant amount of time with their customers, strengthening their relationship and building brand recognition. More, a well-produced catalogue which stays true to the brand will foster large amounts of brand loyalty, with the customer satisfied they are viewing in a brand space that is familiar to them.

This is certainly the approach adopted by Lush, the fresh handmade cosmetics brand, and double winner at the 2016 Annual ACA Catalogue Awards – in the ‘Cosmetics’ and ‘Promoting Charities, Not-for-profit, Awareness Campaigns and Public Information’ categories.

“Lush catalogues play a vital role in sharing our message and entire brand ethos. We take great pride in creating them in the most sustainable way possible to reflect our commitment to being a responsible and sustainable company. We only use staff in our catalogues and never photoshop or edit people’s bodies, skin or hair. We want to truly show an authentic representation of people within the cosmetics industry,” explains Natasha Ritz, brand communications manager at Lush.

With customisation on the rise, retailers are now able to create tailored catalogue experiences for their customers and extend the level of customer service and attention they deliver in store. No doubt, it will be difficult to depose catalogues from their reign on top.

Kellie Northwood is the CEO of the Australasian Catalogue Association (ACA), representing a $2.5 billion industry. She is an advocate for the effectiveness and sustainability of print media as a relevant communication channel to market. Kellie also heads up Sierra Delta, a brand and communications agency located in Richmond, Melbourne, and TSA Limited, a not-for-profit industry organisation promoting the efficacy and environmental credentials of paper and print.


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