ASI’s “State of the Industry” Forecasts Record-Breaking Sales

Bullish ad specialty pros say industry enjoys continued recovery from U.S. recession;
Health, education and manufacturing top 3 markets for promo products

TREVOSE, PA – July 25, 2013 – Counselor® magazine’s annual “State of the Industry” report predicts record-breaking 2013 distributor sales for the ad specialty industry along with continued recovery from the U.S. economic recession.

Each year, the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) surveys distributors and suppliers for the special Counselor “State of the Industry” issue, available in print and online each July. The 2013 report, considered the most important and influential in the promotional products industry, analyzes key sales, marketing and operational metrics used every day by industry practitioners.

Counselor‘s analysis of 2012 findings shows distributors increased sales, profits, order sizes, number of orders, marketing efforts and customer retention rates. Click here to read the report.

According to ASI research, the health/medical/hospital market remained the single biggest market at 13.8% of industry sales, an increase of 2.0 percentage points over 2011. The education/schools/universities market ranked second, again accounting for over 11% of total ad specialty revenues. Manufacturing (8.1%) and construction (5.8%) both rose, which likely reflects growing economic activity.

“As ASI’s research proves, the impressive return on investment (ROI) and high rate of advertiser recall for ad specialties are better than nearly any other medium in the world, which is why even the biggest companies continue to spend their money on promotional products,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “And as Counselor’s comprehensive ‘State of the Industry’ report clearly shows, there are numerous opportunities for growth in the $19.4 billion promotional products industry, which is growing at an even stronger pace than the U.S. economy.”

The 152-page issue also offers winning tips and tactics and 10 growth strategies along with profiles of the 2013 Counselor Award winners – including Person of the Year David Nicholson – and the exclusive revenue ranking of the Top 40 distributor and supplier companies.

Highlights from the 2013 Counselor “State of the Industry” issue include:

  • Top 3 Products: Shirts, bags and writing instruments, per percentage of total 2012 industry revenue. T-shirts alone represent $2.7 billion of the $19.4 billion in total distributor revenues.
  • Bags Down: For the third year, bags declined in their share of sales, down to 8.7% of the market.
  • Vote for Profits: 2012’s elections helped increase sales of buttons, badges and bumper stickers by 48% over 2011.
  • Green is (Not So) Good: While nearly three-quarters (72.6%) of all distributors indicated sales of eco-friendly items were the same as in 2011, 7.2% more reported a decline than an increase.
  • Electronics Up: As a group, USB drives and other electronic/tech products now represent about 10% of the overall market.
  • Toys and Games Drop: Questions over safety issues have helped drive sales of toys and games down 65% since 2009.

In addition to comprehensive reports, the issue includes interviews with business experts and industry professionals. And while numerous industry leaders predict steady growth from now through at least 2014, factors such as political upheaval, unexpected economic challenges and the ongoing implementation of the new federal health care law could impact profits and sales.

“Ultimately, though, a wealth of data and industry viewpoints in this issue proves that ad specialty companies are poised to overcome these challenges, as expectations clearly point upward,” said Andy Cohen, editor of the Jesse H. Neal Award-winning Counselor magazine. “A record year for this market is upon us – recognize the challenges, but capitalize on the bigger opportunities.”

For the 2013 “State of the Industry,” surveys were sent to 14,000 ASI distributor members, all of whom are the primary contact within their company. The surveys yielded a response rate of 5.9%.

To learn more about Counselor State of the Industry 2013, contact editor Andy Cohen at [email protected]. For more information on ASI research, contact Larry Basinait, ASI’s executive director of research services, at [email protected].

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the promotional products industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. ASI leads the industry in technology solutions, providing cloud-based e-commerce, enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and customer relationship management software (CRM). ESP Web® is the industry’s leading tool for sourcing hundreds of thousands of products. A family-owned business since 1962, ASI also provides online research, marketing, advertising opportunities, trade shows, education, award-winning magazines, newsletters, custom websites and catalogs to help members sell, market and promote their brands. Visit ASI at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.

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