Catalogue operators are failing to fully engage with customers, as the home shopping sector continues to change gear to an increasingly online-dominated market.

According to a report by Experian 45 per cent of some home shopping firms' customers are single purchasers and in some cases that is as high as 75 per cent.

It also found that between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of their best customers had not made a purchase in the past year as high-value customers are left to slip through the net.

Just 30 per cent of home shopping companies were also found to generate nearly 70 per cent of revenues.

The report suggests that greater engagement with customers would help the home shopping sector improve their customer loyalty, both online and offline.

One of the biggest shifts in the market that its research company Hitwise found was the number of shoppers online above the age of 55 is now 27 per cent of all online shoppers, compared with just 12 per cent in 2005.

Experian director of marketing consulting for its integrated marketing division Marie Myles said: “Our new report lifts the lid on why engaging online with the empowered consumer is a business imperative in today’s tough economic climate.”

She added: “While ‘wow’ factors will be memorable and generate conversations, innovations in marketing and brand loyalty will be lost if the basics continue to be ignored. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on the exploitation and application of existing data assets.”