Distributor sales accelerated at a rapid pace in 2018, posting annual growth of 6.27 percent and pushing industry sales to a record $24.7 billion for the year, according to PPAI's Sales Volume Survey. The Association's survey, an annual estimate of U.S. distributor promotional products sales, registered particularly robust performance among the industry's smaller distributors—sales under $2.5 million—who experienced a 12.27 percent increase over 2017. Larger companies in the survey saw only a 1.92 percent increase in sales.
The industry-wide survey, conducted this spring and reflecting the experiences of 24,240 distributor companies, also highlighted the online channel's continued growth as a share of promotional products sales. Online sales represented 25.3 percent of the sales volume in 2018, up 2.1 points from 23.2 percent in 2017. Total online sales grew 16.2 percent to $6.27 million from $5.4 million in 2017.
PPAI's survey also registered a 10.6 percent year-over-year increase in sales from non-industry providers in 2018. On average, distributors earned $3.75 billion in sales of products sourced from non-industry providers, or 15.2 percent of the total sales volume.
PPAI has collected and released industry sales data since 1965 and maintains an extensive industry sales information library. Its annual distributor sales survey reflects actual sales data reported by U.S. distributor companies and is considered the most definitive and comprehensive of its kind in the industry.
Read more in PPB's May cover story coming soon. For this and more industry news, click here.