“The Laminated Book of Dreams,” is how comedian Bill Bailey jokingly described the Laminated Argos catalog.
But 48 years after its launch, the catalog is finally coming to an end.
Encyclopedia-style catalogs, which form the basis of many children’s Christmas wish lists, will no longer be printed regularly by the end of January 2021.
The catalog was first launched in 1972 and at its peak was Europe’s most printed publication, with only the Bible in more homes across the UK.
Comedian Alan Carr chose the Argos catalog as his book choice on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs show.
“At least there are photos,” he said at the time. “I think that would help me get through. ”
But now Argos says shopping online offers “greater convenience” than flipping through its printed catalog and that no further take-out edition of the catalog will be produced. Instead, its products will only be listed and displayed online.
The retailer has produced more than a billion copies of its biannual catalog during its 48 years.
The catalog was first launched in 1972 and quickly became synonymous with the brand.
At its peak, its pages starred Emma Bunton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It became so popular that at one point over 10 million copies were printed.
However, that figure rose to around three million copies when the now final version was released in January of this year.
As news of the catalog’s disappearance spread across social media, there was a wave of grief.
Many declared childhoods have been “ruined” by the news and decrying that children will never experience the joys of circling potential birthday and Christmas gifts.
‘RIP Argos’ wrote one person, while another said it was another ‘horror’ for 2020.
However, others have suggested that the catalog has become outdated in recent years and said Argos made the right decision to go digital.
Mark Given, director of marketing at Sainsbury’s – which owns Argos, said the move was a response to a change in customer buying habits.
“Over the decades, the Argos Catalog has mapped the country’s changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices,” he said.
“Just as the tastes of our customers have changed over the years, their buying habits have evolved. We are seeing a growing shift towards digital shopping, using our mobile app, website and in-store browsers. ”
Customers who shop on smartphones and tablets now account for over 70% of all Argos online sales.
The retailer said it will still produce a printed version of its annual guide to Christmas gifts.
Steve Dresser, director of Grocery Insight, told the BBC it was only a matter of time before the retailer went digital.
“Nowadays, everyone uses the Internet to order, and e-commerce is once again experiencing a stratospheric rise,” he explained.
“After Covid 19, there is even less call for a catalog.
“The reality is the march of technology and the progression spares nothing, not even the beloved Argos catalog. ”
Last year, Argos made all of its back catalogs available to browse online, allowing consumers to remember everything from the 1974 hostess cart (then priced at £ 43) to the 1987 personal stereo (19 , £ 95).