Promotional products industry sales in the final month of 2018 were up 5.7 percent from the year-ago level, according to the PPAI®/ITR Economics fourth-quarter 2018 Market Outlook Report. However, indicators tracked by ITR suggest that the PPAI/ITR Total Members Index will be in the slowing growth or recession phase of the business cycle into at least the second half of 2019.

ITR Economics reports the Supplier Member Index annual growth rate climbed 5.1 percent in December, measured year over year. This was 0.1 points below ITR’s forecast range, suggesting the index is transitioning into the slowing growth phase of the business cycle. The economic research and consulting firm forecasts suppliers turning in 2.6 percent growth in 2019—the Index is expected to tick up through mid-2019 before declining mildly into early 2020. Growth will return around mid-2020—ITR expects growth of 2.1 percent for the year and 3.1 percent in 2021.

Industry distributors registered growth of 6.2 percent in December, compared to the year-ago level. ITR projects distributor growth of 2.5 percent in 2019, 3.1 percent in 2020 and 5.2 percent in 2021. The index’s annual average is expected to rise through at least 2021, although flattening in the last half of 2019 and the first half of 2020.

The PPAI Market Outlook Report is a quarterly snapshot of the promotional products industry. The goal of the report is to provide insight into current business-cycle trends that affect member companies, allowing members to make better business decisions to increase profitability and mitigate risk.

An executive summary of the PPAI/ITR Economics’ fourth-quarter 2018 Market Outlook Report is available on PPAI’s website. To access the full report, become a participant in PPAI’s quarterly Market Outlook Survey. Learn more by watching a webinar hosted by ITR or by contacting Mo Das, PPAI research manager, at or 972-258-3058.