No More Giant Garden Gnomes?! SkyMall Catalog Imperiled

4.30.2014

By Neal Broverman

The airplane mainstay struggles to stay alive in a changing marketplace.

Who doesn’t love the quirky, mostly useless, SkyMall catalog? A cultural touchstone for every traveler, the SkyMall catalog is taken for granted by most, but take heed: it may not be with us forever.

The Los Angeles Times reports the company that owns the catalog is losing millions on the business, thanks to fliers turning to their mobile devices instead of the worn catalogs. Though SkyMall has found success selling giant garden yetis, mattresses with storage cabinets, and fluffy neck pillows, there’s concern the catalogs could go the way of mail order endeavors at Sears and Montgomery Ward.

The people at SkyMall, based near the Phoenix airport, are working on beefing up their website and developing apps. Eventually, SkyMall officials hope travelers will be able to aim their phones at the catalog and buy items with the touch of a button.

The catalog has changed hands multiple times since launching in 1990 and declaring itself as the purveyor of the “coolest stuff on the planet.” Though the financial situation may seem worrisome, the Phoenix staff was all laughs at a recent meeting where they tested and ranked products like foam beach pillows and framed pictures of golf courses. There’s also a Breathalyzer app that lets your phone tell you how drunk you are. "If someone unlocks the liquor cabinet," a SkyMall product manager told the Times, "I'll give it a whirl."

Read more about the SkyMall catalog here.

Tags: Travel Tips
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