New End Buyer Study Shows Paper Catalogs Drive 93% of Purchasing Decisions

Viewing catalogs spurs nearly half to buy products

TREVOSE, PA – October 15, 2009  Advertising Specialty Institute®, the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, today announced results of an exclusive end buyer study that shows paper catalogs drive 93% of purchasing decisions.

Further, the study shows that 91% of the time recipients take action as a result of something they noticed in a paper catalog, with nearly half (49%) purchasing a product.

The full results of the exclusive study from ASI are available by clicking here.  The report provides research about catalogs generally, not specifically about catalogs published by ASI.

The study indicates that paper and online catalogs are not only effective sales tools, but also serve as resources for buyers in these ways: 

  • Sparking creativity.  Nearly all respondents (95%) indicated that paper and online catalogs provide them with creative ideas, and 88% percent agree that paper catalogs alone are useful in generating ideas. 
  • Discovering new products.  The majority, or 91%, indicated they are introduced to new products through catalogs. 
  • Importance of customization.  According to 90% of respondents, end buyer catalogs typically include contact information so that items can be ordered, reinforcing the importance of imprinting by distributors. 

In addition, results show that paper catalogs should be used in conjunction with electronic catalogs, as 71% say they consult both before making a purchase decision.

“I believe the results of this study will surprise distributors and suppliers and they can use the knowledge here to their advantage,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI.  “The study shows that catalogs are as important as ever in our industry, and that end buyers hold them in high regard as marketing resources.”

“Catalogs are reliable, grow sales and provide a big bang for your buck,” Andrews said.  “If you have a client interested in planning events or anything for a trade show, for instance, provide them with a catalog so they can start shopping immediately.  Over four million end buyers have seen our catalogs, including our proven selling tools Select and Spectrum.  We’re rolling out our lineup of 2010 catalogs now, including digital versions of three of them.”

The ASI Catalog Usage Study is an additional resource among a comprehensive set of educational and statistical research from ASI, including the annual State of the Industry™ report, the Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, the ASI Social Networking Study and quarterly industry sales reports.  

To view the ASI Catalog Usage Study, click here.  For more information, contact Larry Basinait, at [email protected].  To order 2010 catalogs from ASI, contact Dan Brown, at [email protected].  Distributors receive full-color imprinting and free shipping.Suppliers can advertise by contacting Dan Dienna, at [email protected].     

About ASI
Advertising Specialty Institute is the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of over 26,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of advertising specialties.  Supplier firms use ASI print and electronic resources to market products to over 22,000 ASI distributor firms.  Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain nearly every product in the industry from more than 3,500 reputable suppliers, to locate supplier firms and to market services to buyers.  ASI provides catalogs, information directories, newsletters, magazines, websites and databases, and offers e-commerce, marketing and selling tools.  Visit ASI online at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, the CEO’s blog and the ASI Social Network.

Methodology:  On August 31, 2009, an ASI survey was commissioned to quantify end buyer perceptions about advertising specialty catalogs, as well as the relationship between the catalogs and distributor who supplied the catalogs in the minds of the end buyers.  Invitations went to 6,263 recipients of the Successful Promotions Trend Report.  A total of 158 responded to the survey.  ASI members are typically small businesses of less than 10 employees, that in addition to selling promotional products, may also include sign shops, printers, trophy stores and advertising agencies.