The eco decryption. The end of flyers in supermarkets: not so simple

A shelf and a cart with a large area. Illustrative photo. (PATRICK LEFEVRE / MAXPPP)

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For the moment, it’s an experiment for four months, which will concern only two hypermarkets, one in Lille, for urban customers and another, more rural in Soyaux, near Angoulême. For four months, customers will have the choice between a classic printed paper catalog and a digital version that they can receive by email, SMS, or message via the WhatsApp application.

The objective of this test is to limit wastage. Carrefour has made its calculations: this dematerialization of catalogs in the two hypermarkets should enable it to save nine million copies in one year, or more than 500 tonnes of paper. But Carrefour is taking small steps, groping. Because the paper flyer remains an important means of attracting customers to stores.

Without a catalog, sales drop. But it all depends on the stores, because studies have shown that 10 to 15% of turnover can be achieved through the paper catalog. According to the Nielsen firm, which monitors consumer trends, 61% of customers use paper flyers to find information on new products and promotions, compared to only 16% by consulting websites and 14% via web applications. One in five customers use the catalogs during their shopping, take them with them. These data date from the end of 2019, but it shows how print advertising is still a very powerful lever for supermarkets.

Supermarkets are not so numerous to have completely stopped their catalogs. At the end of last year, the Swedish furniture giant Ikea effectively removed it after fifty years of existence. For more than two years, Monoprix has also made efforts, and no longer makes massive distribution of ads in letterboxes. It targets the customers to whom it sends them.

Ten years ago, Leclerc had planned zero prospectuses for the 2020 decade but the brand has not fully kept its commitment: more than completely removing the catalog, Leclerc has preferred to opt for advertisements in recycled paper. OIt is still very far from zero printed prospectuses.

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