Study: The top retailers that used print ads to drive holiday sales are…

Despite the accelerated adoption of digital advertisements, print circular ads spurred 2017 holiday sales — both in-store and online.

Rather than eliminate print circulars, retailers including Target, Macy’s and J.C. Penney, still used the ads to drive holiday shoppers into stores and online, according to data from Market Track. The study analyzed campaigns from a variety of retailers.

Unlike Target, which stepped up its holiday season circulars from nine to 16 in 2017, four retailers dropped significantly fewer circulars during 2017. Macy’s sent 15 ads, down from 24 in 2016; J.C. Penney sent 14 vs. 21; Sears sent eight vs. 19, and Toys “R” Us only sent a single “book” format, rather than eight in 2016, data revealed.

The apparel category was the most featured category in print circulars (6.8%), followed by mens’ apparel (4.8%), and large appliances (4.3%). Yet, all three categories slipped from 7.3%, 5.4% and 4.6%, respectively.

Several retailers also leveraged the exclusivity of their private label offerings during holiday 2017, promoting these items as unique reasons to visit their stores. For example, Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Toys “R” Us and Sears all increased their share of ads devoted to private label offerings in 2017 vs. 2016.

“Further, Target’s promotions for exclusive new home and apparel brands during Holiday 2017 marked a turning point in its strategic holiday promotions, which others may follow, if it proves successful,” the report said.