Third-quarter sales in the promotional products industry were up 4.8 percent from the year-ago level, according to the PPAI/ITR Economics third-quarter 2019 Market Outlook Report. However, indicators tracked by ITR consistently point toward a business cycle decline—slowing growth or recession—in coming quarters with a low around mid-2020.

ITR Economics reports the supplier member Index annual growth rate climbed 0.9 percent in the third quarter, measured year over year. The economic research and consulting firm forecasts suppliers’ growth rate to be generally flat through mid-2020—turning in negative 0.2 percent growth for 2019. Growth will return around mid-2020; ITR expects growth of 0.9 percent for the year and 3.4 percent in 2021.

Industry distributors registered growth of 5.6 percent in the third quarter, compared to the year-ago level. ITR’s Distributor Index is showing signs that growth will flatten into mid-2020, but ITR expects it to afterwards rise through at least 2021. It projects distributor growth of 2.5 percent in 2019, 3.1 percent in 2020 and 5.2 percent in 2021.

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, participate 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.