Diamond Comic Distributors has released data from the retailer survey taken in the wake of Free Comic Book Day 2004.  More than half the respondents rated FCBD 2004 as better than or as good as FCBD 2003. 


54.8% of the storeowners promoted FCBD more aggressively than in 2003, with almost 90% of the respondents using signage to promote the event, while 72% used bag stuffers, 54% emails, and nearly 50% managed to get newspaper coverage.  Actual purchased promotion in the form of newspaper ads (28%), radio spots (14.2%) and TV commercials (7.4%) were utilized at lower rates. At least one third of the respondents highlighted the event in store newsletters.


A large percentage of retailers (37.7%) cross-promoted FCBD with other retailers in their vicinity, while an equal number cross-promoted the event with movie theaters showing Spider-Man 2.  The theatrical cross-promotions appeared to have been more effective, with 47% of respondents singling it out as the most effective promotional tool they used, while 40% of those who cross-promoted with other local businesses cited it as their most effective or second most effective tool.  If the survey results had been available before retailers voted on the date for FCBD, would the effectiveness of the theatrical cross-promotions swayed more voters toward linking FCBD 2005 to the release of Batman Begins (see 'May Wins Hands Down')?


Almost 90% of the retailers participating in this year's FCBD had also participated in 2003, and 52.2% ordered more FCBD books than they had in 2003.


In general, retailers reported more gains in traffic than in sales on FCBD 2004.  More than half of that traffic (53%) was made up of new customers (38%) and returning customers who hadn't shopped in the store in quite some time (15%).  One of the most encouraging aspects of the survey was the fact that 70% of the respondents gained customers thanks to the FCBD efforts and 35.8% of the storeowners reported that sales increased significantly in the month following FCBD, with most of the gains reported in the 10-20% growth range.


Here are the results for store traffic:

Better than usual for a Saturday        65.00% 
Worse than usual for a Saturday 8.60%  
About the same for a Saturday   12.90% 
Better than a Wednesday 13.60% 
Better than FCBD 2003   40.00% 
Worse than FCBD 2003    30.70% 
About the same as FCBD 2003     15.70% 
I did not participate in FCBD 2003      13.60% 


And here are the survey results for sales:

Better than usual for a Saturday        57.10% 
Worse than usual for a Saturday 6.40%  
About the same for a Saturday   25.00% 
Better than a Wednesday 11.40% 
Better than FCBD 2003   43.90% 
Worse than FCBD 2003    27.30% 
About the same as FCBD 2003     15.10% 
I did not participate in FCBD 2003      13.70%