Promotional Products Sales Decline, Still Fare Better Than Traditional Media


Media Contact: Keith Vincent

Promotional Products Sales Decline, Still Fare Better Than Traditional Media

Irving, Texas, (May 13, 2010) Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) released the results of its annual study confirming that distributor sales of promotional products declined 13.61 percent from 2008 to $15,638,571,468. The lowest since 2002, the sales volume total is a direct reflection of the tough economy that affected advertising media across the board in 2009.  

However, according to Rick Ebel, principal of Glenrich Business Studies in Corvallis, Oregon, who conducted the study exclusively for PPAI with Professor Richard A. Nelson, Ph.D. of Louisiana State University, the drop was less than other media, including direct mail, newspapers, consumer magazines and billboards.

"A 13.6-percent sales drop isn’t good, but it looks pretty good compared to other media," said Ebel. "The biggest surprise was a 15.6-percent drop in sales for direct mail, which hadn’t had a loss in modern times until now. The fact that all media suffered in 2009 doesn’t make it better, but at least we know that our industry’s sales decline wasn’t an anomaly."

According to the study, other media that saw considerable loss were print advertising with newspapers losing 28.6 percent in advertising sales and consumer magazine ad revenue dropping 18.1 percent. Billboards sales also dropped 15.6 percent last year and internet advertising, which had been growing in double digits in recent years, was down 3.4 percent.

The study also showed that distributers are optimistic about 2010. In fact, more than 60 percent of those surveyed predicted that 2010 would be a better year, while only 14 percent felt it might be worse.

"As most of us expected, 2009 was a tough year for distributors and suppliers alike," said Steve Slagle, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. "A 13.6-percent drop in sales shouldn't be surprising as we were in the worst economy since the 1930s. Yet, many members are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel." He added, "An upswing in this year's first quarter sales reported by industry firms seems to be carrying over into the next quarter. While it’s still too soon to tell whether or not 2010 will be a marked improvement or not, it’s already proving to be much better than 2009."

PPAI’s annual distributor sales study is the most comprehensive of its kind in the industry and is conducted by independent researchers based on actual sales reported by promotional consultant companies. PPAI has researched and released industry sales data since 1965. Its figures are considered the most definitive and unbiased in the industry, employing time-tested research

methodology and utilizing an objective outside source to conduct the research and compile the statistics. The margin of the error for the survey was +/- 1.89% at the 95 percent confidence level. The methodology includes a combination of census and a sampling of industry distributors.

Select Research to review the effectiveness of promotional products or to see the full study .

PPAI—the promotional products industry’s only international not-for-profit trade association—offers education, tradeshows, business products and services, mentoring, technology and legislative support to its more than 7,500 global members. Promotional products are a multi-billion dollar industry and include wearables, writing instruments, calendars, drinkware and many other items, usually imprinted with a company’s name, logo or message. PPAI created and maintains the UPIC (Universal Promotional Identification Code), the industry’s only free identification system and universal company database.



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