ASI Reports 2017 Distributor Sales Of Promo Products Hit Record $23.6 Billion

Sales up 3.2% over 2016; Industry enjoys 8th straight year of growth

TREVOSE, PA – January 22, 2018 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today released its annual sales analysis for the promotional products industry, showing total distributor sales topped $23.6 billion for 2017, increasing revenues by 3.2% over 2016 and setting a new record for the eighth consecutive year. 
Nearly 80% of distributors reported steady or higher sales in 2017 to ASI, with the industry’s largest firms realizing the most growth at 5.2%. The industry’s smallest firms grew sales by 1% in 2017.

The growth was fueled by sales of branded items like T-shirts, caps and pens that companies typically give away to promote their business, brand or event. ASI’s most recent Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study on ROI shows promotional products consistently rank among the most influential, enduring and cost-effective ad mediums available.

ASI research also shows distributor sales grew 3.5% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2017, year over year, the highest quarterly increase in two years. In total, about a third of distributors reported a year-over-year increase in Q4 sales, with about one in five reporting a decrease.

In addition, the Counselor® Confidence Index, which measures the health of distributor companies, improved in Q4 2017 to 114, up from 111 the previous quarter and tying an all-time high.

“Distributors in our industry are clearly riding a tidal wave of consumer optimism,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI, the largest membership organization in the promotional industry, with a network of over 23,500 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. “The recent corporate tax cuts approved by Congress and the ever-climbing Dow Jones Industrial Average should cause U.S. businesses to invest even more in their brands in 2018, continuing to spread the word about their companies and products through affordable, effective promotional items.”

Leading research firm eMarketer estimated total media ad spending would top $205 billion in 2017, with media spend by category putting the $23.6 billion spent on promotional items fifth among digital, TV, mobile, print and radio.

Nathaniel Kucsma, ASI’s executive director of research and affiliate marketing, authored ASI’s 2017 sales report, noting that growth in Q3 2017 was the second lowest in the industry since the Great Recession of 2008, due in large part to the natural disasters that swept several parts of the U.S., as well as the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, disrupting thousands of businesses.

“The 2017 totals exceeded our expectations, speaking directly to the resiliency of this industry, which bounced right back from an anemic third quarter,” said Kucsma. “In fact, when we asked distributors to describe their feelings about 2018 sales, they used words like ‘hopeful,’ ‘optimistic’ and ‘better.’”

To learn more about ASI research and sales analysis, contact Nathaniel Kucsma at [email protected].

In December 2017, ASI commissioned an exclusive survey to estimate industry sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 as well as the end of year summary for 2017. Invitations went to ASI distributor members who had been in business at least one year.


About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®) serves a network of 23,500 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $23.6 billion promotional products industry. ASI’s flagship product, the technology platform ESP®, manages the industry’s entire supply and marketing chain. ASI also produces award-winning digital and print content, live events and educational programs that enable companies in 55 countries to be more efficient, productive and profitable. ASI’s Counselor® magazine provides the most authoritative business content in the industry, and the ASI Certification Program features 500+ live and online education courses for over 40,000 professionals. The company, family owned and operated since 1962, is proud to have been consistently ranked among the “Best Places to Work” in Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA. For more info: