The merchant type we call direct marketer represents by far the smallest portion of the Top 1000, both by number of companies and sales. These are mostly retailers with roots in selling via catalogs along with a handful that market their wares via TV shopping shows. While direct marketers’ growth in 2021 slowed, there are still signs of future success.
Collectively, these 36 retailers grew their online sales only 9.1% in 2021 over the prior year. That’s the slowest growth rate among the four merchant types we track. But that’s mainly because the largest retailer in this category — Qurate Retail Group (No. 15) — registered a sales decline in 2021 of 0.7%. Take out Qurate, and the other 35 retailers increased their web sales 13.9%, not far from the collective 15.7% growth of the overall Top 1000.
In fact, the four TV-focused online retailers in the Top 1000 other than Qurate collectively grew their web sales 13.9% in 2021 and 18.2% in 2020. That growth suggests that many consumers still like to watch TV shopping shows and then buy the products on websites. Another indicator of that interest: QVC broadcasts its shopping shows 20 hours a day every day of the year except Christmas. Given that, direct marketers growth must be looking alright going forward, as someone must be watching — and buying.
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