A traditional promo industry bellwether reports that business is slowing down.

In a Wednesday update to investors, publicly traded distributor 4imprint (PPAI 107200, D15), reported that although its new orders were up 22% through the first four months of 2023, growth is expected to “moderate” over the remainder of the year.

  • Numerous financial outlets reported on the statement. 
  • The company maintained that its revenue projections for 2023 as a whole remain in line with market expectations. One sampling of forecasts had predicted just over 12% business growth for 4imprint in 2023, following its record $1.1 billion year in 2023.

Not Unexpected

A slowing pace of business had been projected, according to the company, which credits the substantial year-over-year growth in early 2023 to a softer Q1 of 2022.

“This result was anticipated in our operational planning, which was set firmly in the context of relatively weak, pandemic-affected prior year comparatives in the first quarter of 2022,” 4imprint said. Projections from April onward were softer, 4imprint’s board reported, saying, “we expect the percentage increases in total order activity seen in the first quarter to moderate for the rest of 2023.”

An Indicator

While 4imprint’s business model is an outlier in the promotional products industry as a whole, its revenue performance has typically been a useful directional indicator of the fortunes of the larger industry. 

  • Last month, PPAI Media reported Q1 results from a sampling of distributors, with more than 78% saying business grew year-over-year through March.
  • Responding distributors averaged 11.3% growth in Q1 2023 compared to the softer January-to-March 2022.