Counselor’s “State of the Industry” Offers Blueprint to Success in the Digital Age

Annual report says distributor revenues spike for fifth consecutive year, to a record $21.5 billion

TREVOSE, PA – August 11, 2015 – Counselor® magazine’s annual State of the Industry issue, available online now, features a detailed analysis of the extreme impact e-commerce is having on the promotional products industry, along with reports of record sales of $21.5 billion for distributors.

In 2014, according to the 2015 “State of the Industry,” the industry’s 40 largest distributors as a whole increased revenues by 7.9% to hit $4.75 billion. Known as Counselor’s Top 40, the group of companies accounted for 22.1% of the industry’s revenues last year, compared with 21.7% in 2010, showing the market share of the industry’s largest distributors has remained consistent in recent years.

The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) publishes Counselor magazine, which annually surveys the buyers and sellers of logoed and branded promotional products for its special State of the Industry issue. The report analyzes key sales, marketing and operational metrics and is considered the most important and influential in the promotional products industry.

“With online transactions now accounting for over 15% of overall distributor revenue, and online sellers becoming a force to be reckoned with, there’s no denying the dramatic impact e-commerce is having on our entire industry,” said Andy Cohen, editor of the Jesse H. Neal Award-winning Counselor magazine. “We designed this special issue as a go-to resource for competing in this new environment, providing numerous strategies and case studies to help everyone capitalize on emerging markets, better navigate social media and outrun the competition. We also included success secrets from the fastest-growing Top 40 firms to provide the inside track on catching up to the big dogs.”

Highlights from Counselor’s 2015 survey include:

  • Optimism High. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being robust, distributors rated the industry’s health in 2014 an average of 3.82, and forecast it at 3.97 for 2015.
  • You’re Hired. 34% of distributors plan more hiring in 2015, up from 31% last year.
  • Top 3 Markets. Education (13.6%), Health Care (11.8%) and Manufacturing (7.8%) led the pack.
  • Nonprofits Spike. Spending from nonprofit clients increased by more than 50% last year.
  • Hospitality Up. Hospitality clients nearly doubled their spending on promo products over the past four years.

The 144-page issue offers winning tips and tactics and growth strategies along with at-a-glance graphics and profiles of the 2015 Counselor Award winners – including Person of the Year Bill Korowitz – and the exclusive revenue ranking of the Top 40 distributor and supplier companies.

For the State of the Industry, surveys were sent to ASI members, all of whom are the primary contact within their company.

Low-cost, high-return promotional products, or ad specialties, are usually given away for free by companies, schools, hospitals, sports teams, organizations and more to advertise a brand or event or to thank employees or clients.

To learn more about the issue, contact Andy Cohen at [email protected]. For more information on ASI research, contact Nate Kucsma, ASI’s director of marketing research, 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 opportunitiestrade showseducationaward-winning magazines, newsletters, custom websites and catalogs to help members sell, market and promote their brands. Learn more at and on Google+FacebookTwitterLinkedInYouTube and the CEO’s blog.