A new interest in Catholic products — from rosaries to videos — is propelling the growth of Catholic marketing, reports the National Catholic Register (Feb. 13-19).
The newspaper reports that the expansion is evident in the four-year-old Catholic Marketing Network,, a Dallas-based firm that holds trade shows for Catholic store owners and other suppliers of religious goods from around the country. The network recently increased its trade shows to two per year, one of them moving outside of the strong East Coast Catholic circuit.
One merchandiser cites statistics showing that while 25 percent of the U.S. population is Catholic, less than five percent have ever been inside a religious bookstore, indicating a good deal of room for growth and exposure of Catholic products.
While some of the Catholic products are modern and updated, following the trend in non-Catholic Christian gift items, such as videos and CD’s of Catholic performing artists, other items run in the more traditional direction. The Boston Globe (Feb. 2) reports that the sales of rosaries have skyrocketed after going into decline after the Second Vatican Council. Two Northeast manufacturers of rosaries say their sales have quadrupled over the past 15 years.
The sales of high-end rosaries (costing as much as $4,500) are up, and even two untapped markets, men and Protestants, are showing an interest. Practitioners often cite a mix of duty and desire, as well as a return to the Catholic faith, as prompting the revival of praying with the rosary.
(National Catholic Register, 33 Rosotto Drive, Hamden, CT 06514)