Promotional Products Sales Volume Surpassed $20 Billion in 2014
U.S. promotional products sales volume surpassed $20 billion last year, Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) revealed in its latest study.
PPAI estimated that sales volume increased to an all-time high of $20,042,228,931, according to its study, The 2014 Estimate of Promotional Products Distributor Sales, for which Relevant Insights, on behalf of PPAI, surveyed about 25,000 distributors. Although 2014 became the fifth straight year to see an increase after a brief downward slide during the recession in 2008 and 2009, last year also showed the smallest growth (1.09 percent) since sales volume began to rebound in 2010.
Large distributors with $2.5 million or more in sales saw a 4 percent increase, but distributors with less than $2.5 million in sales saw a 1.72 percent decrease, according to the study. Of those small distributors, those with sales ranging from $500,001 to $1 million felt the biggest decline, with 11.07 percent loss in sales. However, distributors making less than $250,000 saw a 10.35 percent bump in sales.
Wearables continued to be the top products category with 30.62 percent of sales, the study indicated. Rounding out the top five are: writing instruments (8.99 percent), drinkware (7.63 percent), bags (7.45 percent) and computer products (5.94 percent). The three most common uses for promotional products were deemed brand awareness (14.43 percent), business gifts (11.72 percent) and trade shows (10.03 percent).
Online sales continued to climb with about $885 million more in sales in 2014 than in 2013. However, online sales only accounted for about 5.56 percent of total sales.
“It would be convenient if the slowed growth is an anomaly but there’s little reason to believe that to be the case,” Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO, said on PPAI's website. “Our industry will continue to experience shifts driven by evolving business-to-business and business-consumer buyer behaviors, shifting buyer demographics, advances in technology, increased globalization, changes in go-to-market strategies, and business consolidation—and the list goes on. So while I firmly believe that the use of promotional products will continue to grow at a faster pace than most other media, how those products will get into the hands of buyers will continue to change. The increase in fully online and omni-channel distributor to buyer-sales is significant, and impacting the role of the traditional salesperson. We also project growth will occur outside our traditional supplier-distributor-buyer channel.
“Each of these shifts affords us opportunities to meet customer demands in new and different ways,” he added. “Successful companies will be challenged to add value beyond price and will present buyers with an array of options for providing service, products and solutions."
For more information, visit www.ppai.org.