The End of an Era: Argos Stops Printing Its Catalogue

Argos catalog 2012

The End of an Era: Argos Stops Printing Its Catalogue

After nearly 50 years in print, Argos retires its catalogue citing the rise in online shopping

Chances are, if you grew up in the UK, you remember settling in on cosy winter afternoons, flipping through the Argos catalogue and crafting a wishlist to send to Father Christmas – with just the right mix of toys, clothes, jewellery and gadgets.

Kids today will instead have to navigate mega-menus and multiple filters before firing off their digital wishlist to Santa’s fulfilment centres.

Perhaps not quite the same experience…

The Argos catalogue was launched in 1973 and more than 1 billion copies of the bi-annual catalogue have been printed since, according to The Guardian. ‘At its height it was Europe’s most widely printed publication, with only the bible in more homes across the UK.’

Argos catalog 2012

Argos has stated that the decision to stop printing the catalog after almost 50 years is because online shopping offers greater convenience than sitting down with a cuppa and flipping through the pages. They said that the current COVID crisis wasn’t a factor in its decision.

The Guardian notes that the print runs for the catalogue have declined over recent years, down from 10 million to around 3 million.

‘Over the decades the Argos catalogue has charted the nation’s changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices,’ said Mark Given, chief marketing officer at Sainsbury’s, which owns Argos.

‘Just as our customers’ tastes have changed over the years, so have their shopping habits. We are seeing an increasing shift towards digital shopping, using our mobile app, website and in-store browsers. Closing the book on the catalogue will help us focus on delivering exciting and inspiring digital shopping experiences to meet the changing needs of our customers.’

The Christmas Gift Guide will still be printed and available in stores as usual.

While the digital experience may not hold the same tactile enjoyment as the physical item, the main benefit is to the environment.

Not only will this cut down on the need to harvest trees for paper, it will also reduce waste that is sent to recycling centres or landfill when the catalogues become out of date or are no longer needed.

And while the company hasn’t publicly made that link, it could be a first step toward more planet-friendly practices.


What do you make of the announcement? Do you think it’s a good move, or will you miss the printed catalogue?