Catalog Spree claims 66% of consumers will shop for holiday gifts from tablets... wait, what?

According to a press release published today from digital magazine company Catalog Spree, 66 percent of consumers will use a tablet to shop for holiday gifts this year. If that figure strikes you as odd, that's probably because it's not even close to accurate. This is called sampling bias, and it's what happens when a company or group uses a biased sample to generate a favorable figure.

Here is everything Catalog Spree says in the release about how it collected its data: "These findings are part of Catalog Spree's annual holiday shopping survey, which highlights consumer shopping behaviors around the holiday season."

There is no mention of what the sample actually is, how the survey was conducted or who participated. After contacting Catalog Spree I've been told that the survey is conducted directly from within the app itself. 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.

Of course, this isn't made clear on the press release, and who knows where that figure will be regurgitated elsewhere without clarification?

It's clearly misleading, but how wrong is the "66 percent" data point? Well, according to a 2013 survey from Pew Research Center only 34 percent of all American adults even own a tablet to begin with. So take 34 percent of holiday shoppers, then take the minute percentage of those individuals who actually have Catalog Spree installed, and then cut the resulting figure by a further one-third, and you are left with a more accurate survey result. Math!

In any case, the company is really telling us absolutely nothing about the habits of shoppers, and publishing misleading press releases doesn't exactly make us want to browse its digital catalogs anyway.

The entire press release can be viewed below.

Sixty-Six Percent of Consumers Will Shop for Holiday Gifts from Tablets, According to Catalog Spree
November 6th, 2013

Avoid the Mall and 'Gift' Straight from the Couch this Holiday Season

LOS ALTOS, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2013) – Catalog Spree, the personal digital mall that lets consumers browse, discover and shop their favorite brands, today reported that 66 percent of consumers will shop for holiday gifts from tablets this year. In addition, 25 percent of consumers will use both tablets and smartphones to shop for gifts. These findings are part of Catalog Spree's annual holiday shopping survey, which highlights consumer shopping behaviors around the holiday season. With more than 350 full-page digital catalogs and lookbooks, the Catalog Spree mobile shopping app makes holiday shopping easy by letting consumers shop on an iPad or iPhone.

"Retail customers are rapidly gravitating toward tablets and smartphones for shopping. In fact, we believe 2013 will go down as the last year in which retail web traffic from PCs will be greater than web traffic from mobile devices," said Joaquin Ruiz, CEO of Catalog Spree. "Consumers are initially drawn to the convenience of shopping from an app on a tablet or smartphone, but it's the experience that makes them stay. At Catalog Spree, we are dedicated to making mobile shopping so fun and easy that it becomes the primary shopping method for consumers."

Catalog Spree offers visually engaging digital catalogs and lookbooks that allow consumers to quickly and easily flip through pages to browse, be inspired and shop on an iPad or iPhone. Highlights from this year's survey include:

– 66 percent of consumers will shop for holiday gifts from tablets.
– 25 percent of consumers will use both tablets and smartphones to shop for holiday gifts.
– A majority of consumers will shop from digital catalogs, including 12 percent more shoppers than last year.
– 63 percent of consumers have already started shopping; 30 percent started shopping before Halloween.
– Top places consumers get gift ideas include digital catalogs, searching online, print catalogs and suggestions from friends and family.
– 25 percent of consumers will share wish lists via social media.

To make holiday shopping even easier, Catalog Spree is launching a new Gift Center that features a series of gift-themed catalogs. These catalogs, such as Gifts Under $25, Gifts for Her and Gifts for Kids, offer great gift ideas and inspiration for the holiday season. All of these Catalog Spree-branded catalogs are produced in a matter of hours with Spree Studio, the company's all-digital publication platform.

For additional information on Catalog Spree, visit

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Catalog Spree is the personal digital mall that lets consumers browse catalogs and lookbooks, discover new brands and share products they like. The award-winning app brings the fun of window shopping to the iPad and iPhone, connecting consumers with the brands they love in a personalized, one-stop mobile shopping experience. Catalog Spree works with retailers to publish digital versions of print catalogs, create custom lookbooks with its all-digital publishing platform, Spree Studio, and distribute content to over 100 million targeted shoppers on the web through its partnership with Google. Based in Los Altos, California, Catalog Spree is privately held and backed by angel investors and venture capital firms including Relay Ventures. For more information visit

[Image credit: Acme]