Epsilon Targeting Releases Annual Multichannel Trend Report: Increase in Consumer and Business Sales
According to Epsilon Targeting, the leading provider of consumer information for targeted marketing solutions, business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales are on the rise as households and businesses break from the restrained spending of 2009. Epsilon Targeting’s Annual Multichannel Trend Report, which is based on aggregated 2010 merchandise purchase data from the Abacus Cooperative database, indicates an increase in nearly all key metrics including transactions, sales per household or contact, average order size and transactions per household. Consumer sales and business offers are also showing growth in early Q1 2011 data.
In a multichannel buyer analysis, the report also showed that significantly higher sales were achieved through multichannel buyer households with two or more purchases from merchants in the Abacus Cooperative. Online and retail channels continue to grow over a four-year period. Direct mail, however, still delivers strong results with higher sales per household than the online channel.
“While we continue to see a shift towards digital and emerging channels, our research shows that call centers and direct mail are still viable, important channels to reach consumers and drive sales,” said Brian Rainey, president of Epsilon Targeting. “The key learning from this report is that a unified, multichannel marketing strategy that leverages the power of a marketing database is best. Data helps give marketers a 360 degree view of the individual customer to enhance their experience and build long term loyalty. Data and technology are critical to establishing a one-to-one conversation with consumers across all channels in real-time.”
The Rebound of 2010
The study found growth in not only year-over-year performance, but also in growth over 2007’s prerecession levels in most cases. Consumer sales experienced a 9.5% increase from the previous year while business sales increase by 11%. Sales rose in each quarter of 2010 compared to 2009, driven by an increase in circulation volume (4%). Prospecting was up 8% and accounted for a large portion of mail circulation (41%). The current year is also off to a strong start with consumer sales growing 7% year-over-year and business offers up an impressive 18% in Q1 2011.
Where Consumers Spend
At the merchandise category level, Senior Products and Media Categories marked modest declines over prior years. Categories experiencing positive growth included Home Décor, Apparel and Accessories, Children’s Products and Men’s Products. Sales at the product category level varied with two-thirds of product categories flat or improved over 2010. The categories with the highest growth were Fruits and Nuts (60%), High-Ticket Female Apparel (40%), Teen Apparel & Shoes (39%), Vitamins & Supplements (35%) and High-Ticket Home Décor & Gifts (24%). On the other end of the spectrum, select categories experienced declines including Wine & Wine Accessories (-35%), Seeds, Bulbs & Live Plants (-19%), Mid-Ticket Gifts & Merchandise (-16%), Low- to Mid-Ticket Bed, Bath & Linens (-15%) and Discount Domestic Merchandise (-12%).
Multichannel Buyers Deliver Higher Value
The study highlights continued growth in online and retail channels over a four year period. Online sales grew 6% over the last four years and 3% from 2009. Average sales were also up for all channels in 2010 reversing a decline trend. Only Call Center/Mail Order had average sale exceeding pre-recession levels. Significantly higher sales were achieved through multichannel buyer households with two or more purchase. This group averaged $832 per household in 2010 (up 14%) and again comprised 51% of households. This trend also reflected the declining proportion of Pure Call Center/Mail Order consumer sales. For Business offers among buyers with two or more transactions, the mix differs as Call Center/Mail Order buyers spent more per contact and made more purchases per year, with multichannel buyers producing approximately 40% less annual spend.
Two main data sources were used to compile the 2011 Multichannel Trend Report. These sources leverage the combined technology and data assets of Epsilon Targeting’s Abacus Cooperative database and comprise a wealth of transactional data. The analysis also looked at the “Multichannel Benchmark Group,” a subset of the Abacus Cooperative members consisting of multichannel merchants. For a sneak peek at 2011 trends, the analysis identified a separate comparative group of multichannel merchants with full activity from January 1, 2009 through March 31, 2011.
Note: Due to methodology changes between Multichannel Trend Reports, it is recommended that year-over-year activity be examined within a single Multichannel Trend Report, as opposed to comparing prior versions that may include different merchants.