We are putting Catalog Spree on the naughty list this year, thanks to an article by Mike Wehner that debunks the digital magazine company’s misleading claim that 66% of consumers will shop for holiday gifts from their tablets this year.
Wehner was taken aback by the figures in the company’s recent press release that states “a majority of consumers will shop from digital catalogs, including 12 percent more shoppers than last year.”
These numbers just didn’t make sense to Wehner (and to us), especially in light of research from the well-respected Pew Research Center that finds “only 34 percent of all American adults even own a tablet,” says Wehner.
He contacted them for more information on how the research was conducted, and got quite a surprise. Turns out, the company pulled the numbers from a survey that was run within Catalog Spree’s app itself. It’s like asking people who buy apples at the grocery store if they like buying apples at the grocery store. Not surprisingly, most of them do.
“So, really, 66 percent of people who already have a digital shopping app installed on their tablets are planning on using it to shop for gifts,” explains Wehner. “This is called sampling bias, and it’s what happens when a company or a group uses a biased sample to generate a favorable figure.”
Stats are used all the time to tell a story about what’s happening in your industry. And they can be used to mislead, in which case they become nothing more than spin. Not cool, Catalog Spree. I’d check your stocking for coal this year.