Latest ASI Research Shows 2012 Sales Up 5.2% to $19.4 Billion

Promotional products industry grew at twice the rate of the overall U.S. economy;
Steady growth reported for 12 consecutive quarters

TREVOSE, PA – February 4, 2013 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today released its annual distributor sales analysis for the promotional products industry, showing total sales of $19.4 billion for 2012, up 5.2% from 2011.

Industry sales have increased for 12 straight quarters, with 5.1% 2012 fourth-quarter sales growth reported – the highest quarterly year-over-year increase since the year’s first quarter.

“Sales of promotional products grew at more than twice the rate of the overall U.S. economy, an increase directly attributable to this industry’s entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “Marketers continue to turn to promotional products because they offer the most cost-effective way to get a business’ message across – whether it’s a corner barbershop or a Fortune 50 multi-national.”

Highlights of ASI’s sales analysis include:

  • Bigger the business, greater the sales: 73% of larger distributors (over $1 million in annual revenue) reported an increase in sales in 2012, while 66% of all distributors reported an increase.
  • 4Q 2012 better than 4Q 2011: 51.0% of all distributors reported an increase in the fourth quarter,with distributorships of at least $250,000 in annual revenue reporting greater percentage increases in sales than their smaller counterparts.
  • Smaller the business, smaller the increase: Distributors with revenue under $250,000 reported a 1.8% increase in fourth-quarter sales – the smallest increase of any group.
  • Optimism continues: 67.1% of distributors predicted sales in 2013 would be higher than in 2012, more tempered than last year’s 77.1%. The largest distributors were the most bullish on 2013, with 72.1% anticipating increased sales.

Click here to read the entire exclusive survey, which ASI commissioned to estimate industry sales for 2012 and the outlook for 2013. Invitations went to ASI distributor members who were the primary contact with their firms, and had been in business at least one year.

According to a recent U.S. Department of Commerce report, real gross domestic product (GDP) declined at an annual rate of 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012. GDP grew 2.2% in 2012 overall.

The media buying agency ZenithOptimedia in December predicted global ad expenditure will grow 4.1% in 2013, reaching $518 billion by the end of this year, with growth led by developing markets. Company CEO Steve King said advertisers are willing to increase their budgets wherever they can achieve a strong return on investment (ROI).

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.

To learn more about ASI research and sales analysis, contact Larry Basinait, 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 26,000 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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