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Online Catalogs Account for 87% of Total; Print-Only Declining

The number of print catalogs with online editions now stands at 8,894, up from 8,675 at the same time in 2008, according to data from the 2009 National Directory of Catalogs, which was released this week by MediaFinder.com (via MarketingCharts).

The directory data shows that there are 2,011 catalogs available in online-only formats in 2009, an increase from 1,868 last year.

In an unsurprising decrease, catalogs available in print-only formats fell from 1,574 to 1,347 in the same period, though they still represent a significant portion of the total.

"Online catalogs continue to grow, accounting for 10,905 of the 12,524 catalogs listed in our new directory, but catalogs with print versions are still seen as vital, with 10,241 of the total," said Trish Hagood, president of Oxbridge Communications, Inc., publisher of the National Directory of Catalogs.

Book Catalogs Top the List

Book catalogs continue to top the list of the most number of catalogs – which continues to grow. There are 1,156 Book catalogs in the 2009 directory, up from 1,071 in 2004.The other largest catalog categories are Apparel and Accessories, numbering 819 catalogs, up from 711, and Automotive, with 593 catalogs, up from 389 in 2004.

In addition to Books, Apparel, and Automotive, the other most popular catalog categories are Education (528), Gardening & Horticulture (422) and Gifts & Greeting Cards (358).

Niche Catalogs Thriving

MediaFinder noted that niche areas of the catalog business that cater to the increased interest in entertaining at home are thriving. These areas include the Baking category - with titles such as Divine Delights, and Fairytale Brownies - and its companion categories of Confectionery and Produce.

Over the last five years (2004-2009) Baking catalogs jumped 353%, from 16 to 68, Produce catalogs grew 183%, from 29 to 82, and Confectionery catalogs grew 138%, from 74 to 176.

Other Categories Down

At the same time as some niche catalogs are growing, manufacturing catalogs show the steepest decline, a 43% drop, from 469 to 268. Computer catalogs are down 33%, from 313 to 209.

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