September 05, 2023

The Numbers Haven't Been Good in a Long Time

Based on all the data I get to see, here's what customer acquisition trends look like over the past decade, using 2014 as a base.

Among my catalog clients, there was a long-term trend ... a negative trend, that was disrupted by the COVID-bump. Now we are working our way back into the trend. For a few years, the issues was masked (see what I did there) by the pandemic. Reality is hitting in 2023, and is going to sting in 2024 unless something changes.

The e-commerce trend (in red) is equally disturbing, just in a different way. Unfettered growth is ending. Like with catalogers, the COVID-bump masked the fact that customer acquisition was getting harder and harder.

There are many people who tell you daily customer acquisition trends out on the socials. It's really hard to see what history tells us and then project forward as a consequence. But follow those red bars and project them out a few years ... what does the trend tell you?

Back in 2016 I had to beg readers to pay attention to customer acquisition. I traveled the country, speaking at conferences begging attendees to pay attention to customer acquisition. The e-commerce audience could have laughed off the plea in 2016 ... it's harder to laugh it off today.

The catalog portion of my readership is facing a reckoning. I know this audience doesn't want to hear that, and there are plenty of vendor leaders who will tell you otherwise. There's a reason they are telling you otherwise. What is that reason?

2024. Time to find new ways to find new customers. Go!

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