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It is that time of the year – the shops are filled with Christmas decorations, and we can start feeling the festive holiday cheer. We just made it through the Black Friday retail extravaganza, where some of us might have already started with our Christmas shopping.

 Forming part of this consumer buzz and shopping excitement is the various retail inserts and annual Christmas catalogues available to browse – may it be to spot and compare the best deals or too simply to help with gift ideas, those captivating print materials are much-welcomed and well-used by shoppers from all over.

No avoiding toys galore with Christmas catalogues 

Most parents probably have a love-hate relationship with the numerous toy catalogues that become available during this time of the year. When they arrive, you know Christmas is near. Worries about the budget start to set in as our children start circling all the items they want “Santa to bring”. However, at the same time, parents do appreciate the help as it assists them to avoid last-minute gift-shopping runs only made worse when one has no idea what to get for the little ones.

One way or another, these annual toy catalogues have become part of the holiday tradition we all enjoy. An aesthetically-pleasing catalogue gives people a sense of nostalgia. They were a popular way people shopped during the holidays before the internet, and they bring people back to simpler times.

For retailers, these visually-appealing catalogues still to this day serve as a highly effective tool for them to showcase their products. They are still relevant in today’s marketplace as they offer  customers the ability to read on their timeframe, and to easily find ‘favourite’ items without searching their browser history.

So many promotion emails simply get dumped in your inbox or lost in your ‘spam/junk’ folder, whereas printed catalogues will always be available. No need to scour the internet and sift through massive amounts of information, draining your electronic device’s battery, and we will not mention the impact of loadshedding in this regard.

A physical object on your home table or desk is much harder to ignore than banner ads. The reality is that well printed publications such as catalogues offer highly engaging experiences that can help drive conversions.

“For retailers, the accessibility and visibility of printed catalogues, brochures and inserts in customers’ homes is an added boost for their respective brands’ impressions, which an email sitting in an inbox just cannot compete with. In many cases, printed materials are not at odds with online efforts. To the contrary, they can be a critical and complementary component of the relationships brands establish with and experience they deliver to their customers,” says Peter Metcalfe Group Executive of Sales at Novus Holdings.

We cannot imagine a world without print

As the leading print manufacturing group in South Africa, Novus Print reminds of the importance and power of print in society. For thousands of years, it has spread literacy, knowledge and ideas. Currently in the country, print contributes approximately R55 billion to our GDP.

Print is everywhere around us

Let’s look at some more ways that print is present and forms a big part our holiday celebrations:

  • Signage – Even though websites are now the most important way to attract customers, physical creative displays still warm people’s hearts as they walk around in shopping centres. Especially with the rolling pandemic lockdowns, people are more responsive to brick and mortar displays and signage. Attractive and pleasant signage is a great way to contribute to the holiday ambiance at any venue.
  • Greeting cards – With the present digital age where technology is becoming more and more integrated in our lives, the importance of a ‘personal touch’ is slowly but increasingly returning to us. The feeling of having a sturdy card in your hands is simply a different experience compared to a text message or an elaborate email sending you best wishes. Greeting cards stand out for being a tactile experience, where you can actually hold the sender’s sentiment in your hands and keep it somewhere safe forever.
  • PackagingWe all share in the responsibility to look after our planet, and during the holiday time this is even more important for us all to reuse and recycle all forms of packaging as best we can.

Books make the best gifts

There are many reasons why books make the best gift. A book is a gift for life. Even as adults we can return to our childhood favourites and pass them down to our own children. Books encourage a life-long love of reading and helps one to relax. A study by Sussex University showed that reading reduces children’s stress by 68%. Numerous studies show that children who read from a young age develop higher intelligence later in life, as well as increasing their knowledge of the world. They also help children chart their own moral course and reflect on what’s right and wrong.

Here are some interesting insights from Novus Print pertaining to printing for the holiday season:

  • Bookings for Christmas and holiday promotional material come in at least four months in advance with most of the promotional campaigns being executed from mid-October.
  • Online fatigue has driven people to read hardcopy books and hence there has been an increase in the past two years for book printing orders for the holiday season with coffee table, collectors, recipe and photography books being more popular.
  • Over the months of October and November, the division sees approximately 20% increase in print orders for retail customers. With Black Friday growing in popularity in South Africa, holiday promotions in the retail sector commence early which is very good for the print market as a whole.
  • Back-to-school campaigns are growing as people incorporate school supply purchases as part of their Christmas gifting. Therefore the combination of Christmas and Back-to-school campaigns have increased.

As with any print order, security of promotional material so far in advance is crucial and as certified security printers, all Novus Print plants follow strict protocols in this regard. A number of internal controls are implemented at each printing and distribution point with an audit trail in place.