Argos is set to stop printing its catalog after nearly 50 years, as the shopping bible, once found in three-quarters of British homes, is claimed by the inexorable shift to online shopping.
Over a billion copies of the biannual catalog have been printed since its launch in 1973, and at its peak, it was the most printed publication in Europe, with just the Bible in more homes across the UK. United.
But now Argos must shut down the regular printing of the title, with the retailer saying shopping online offers “greater convenience” than flipping through its printed catalog.
The coronavirus has hammered the publishing industry and seen many headlines closed, but the company said the pandemic was not responsible for the decision to stop printing.
The catalog has seen its celebrity moments over the years. Comedian Alan Carr chose it as the only book he would pick up when he appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, and stars from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tess Daly to Holly Willoughby and Emma Bunton plugged in products in its pages.
However, the popularity of the catalog has waned in recent years as the internet takes more and more weight on the buying habits of buyers.
Over the past decade, the number of printed copies of each edition has grown from around 10m to around 3m. The most recent, printed in January before the coronavirus pandemic hit, was 3.9 million.
“Over the decades, the Argos Catalog has painted a picture of the country’s changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices,” said Mark Given, Director of Marketing at Sainsbury’s, owner of Argos.
“Just as the tastes of our customers have changed over the years, their buying habits have changed. We are seeing a growing shift towards digital shopping, using our mobile app, website and in-store browsers. Closing the book on the catalog will help us focus on delivering exciting and inspiring digital shopping experiences to meet the changing needs of our customers. “
Argos said it will continue to produce its Christmas gift guide, which will still be available in all stores this year.