PPAI: 2001 promotional sales off slightly; wearables still the leading category – Promotional Products Association International – Brief Article
IRVING, Texas – Sales of promotional products by distributors dropped slightly in 2001, according to the annual industry study conducted exclusively for Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). The industry posted sales of $16,552,291,971, which represents a 7.29 percent decrease over last year’s figures. This is the first negative growth since PPAI began measuring industry sales nearly 40 years ago.
The biggest drop, 14.39 percent, was seen in distributor companies with sales more than $2.5 million – a category with multiple mergers and dissolutions, which reduced the number of companies from 903 to 884. Distributor companies with annual sales less than $2.5 million only saw an actual decrease of .90 percent from last year. Though the distributors surveyed felt the drop was directly related to the catastrophic events of 9-11 and the resulting downturn in the country’s economy, they also were optimistic about the first quarter sales for 2002.
“Obviously, no one could have anticipated what happened in September and our industry is not immune to the damaging effects of that tragedy,” said Steve Slagle, CAE, PPAI president. “Any shortfall in sales is distressing, especially when many of our distributor companies are small businesses. But in the midst of hard times, this industry has always proved resilient. We anticipate a strong recovery.”
The decline in advertising was not limited to the promotional products industry. In fact, according to Universal-McCann, mass advertising was hit much harder, sustaining the worse decline since 1938. Broadcast TV was down 13.2 percent; newspapers down 9.8 percent; magazines down 10.3 percent and business publications down 8.4 percent.
Wearables still lead
As in years past, the most popular category for promotional products sales was Wearables/Apparel – which includes T-shirts, golf shirts, aprons, uniforms, headwear, neckwear, footwear, etc. – with a market share of 29.3 percent of the total sales for 2001, up from a 29.1 percent share for 2000 sales. Writing Instruments once again held the second-largest category, with 10.6 percent of the total. Other top categories included Desk/Office/Business Accessories; Bags; Calendars; and Glassware/Ceramics. In the midst of the overall decline, the top three segments of the promotional products industry actually saw sales increases, though the amounts were less than one percent. Calendars saw an increase of 1.7 percent.
The survey also measured the number of distributor companies selling promotional products on the Internet. The number of large distributors providing online sales capabilities was up slightly from last year to 88.5 percent, or almost nine out of 10. Distributor companies with sales less than $2.5 million were still not as electronically accessible; there was no change from last year’s figures of 49.17 percent, or almost five out of 10.
The study was conducted for PPAI by Alan D. Fletcher, Ph.D. at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University and Rick Ebel, former marketing communications director of PPAI, and principal of Glenrich Business Studies in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The complete study, along with charts, graphs and statistics illustrating various segments of the promotional products industry is posted on the PPAI Web site: http://www.ppa.org/mediainformation/IndustryStatistics/SalesVolumeEstimates/.
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