While the printed catalogue is no more, Argos says its Christmas gift guide will remain.
Following Toy World’s exclusive report earlier this year that the autumn/winter Argos catalogue had been cancelled, the retailer has publicly announced that it is to stop printing its iconic twice-yearly catalogue as shoppers increasingly transition to the online space.
In an email to staff, Simon Roberts, chief executive of Argos’ parent company Sainsbury’s, said: “As most customers are now browsing and ordering online, we have decided that the time is right to stop printing the Argos catalogue. Removing the printed catalogue helps us to flex our range and offers and to be more competitive on price.”
The catalogue has been produced for 48 years, having been launched in 1972, with some 93 editions and 1b copies making their way off the printing press to be browsed at home or in-store.
Argos says customers shopping on smartphones and tablets now account for more than 70% of all online sales; the majority of branches have also now gone digital, with customers using digital tablets to browse items in stock. Reports suggest that a small selection of stores that aren’t yet digital will continue to offer laminated catalogues, but the retailer says all UK stores will have digital screens by January.
Argos adds that its separate Christmas gift guide will continue to be printed.
Mark Given, chief marketing officer at Sainsbury’s, commented: “Just as our customers’ tastes have changed over the years, so have their shopping habits. We’re seeing an increasing shift towards digital shopping, using our mobile app, website and in-store browsers. Closing the book on the catalogue will help us focus on delivering exciting and inspiring digital shopping experiences to meet the changing needs of our customers, both in-store and online.”
When news broke of the autumn/winter catalogue cancellation in May, the toy industry reacted with dismay, with many recalling fondly the excitement of flicking through it at Christmas, looking for gifts to add to the list. The decision to cancel it altogether will likely be met with a similar reaction.