Promotional products industry sales in the fourth quarter of 2019 were up 4.5 percent from one year ago, according to the PPAI/ITR Economics fourth-quarter 2019 Market Outlook Report. Indicators tracked by ITR point toward the business cycle picking up in the latter half of 2020 and continuing into 2021. ITR assumes the coronavirus outbreak to cause supply chain disruptions for some in the near term. However, it sees it as unlikely that the coronavirus will have a material impact on the U.S. economy and does not expect it to impact its forecast.

ITR Economics reports the supplier member index annual growth rate climbed 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, measured year over year. The economic research and consulting firm forecasts suppliers’ growth rate to be a similar 1.5 percent for 2020. ITR expects 2021 growth to be more robust at 5.2 percent. The U.S. economy is projected to enter a recession in 2022, pointing to an essentially flat supplier outlook at 0.2 percent.

Promotional products distributors registered growth of 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the year-ago level. ITR’s Distributor Index is showing signs that growth will slow into late 2020 before accelerating into late 2021. It projects distributor growth of 2.4 percent in 2020, 6.3 percent in 2021 and 0.3 percent in 2022 as the expected recession takes hold.

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 2019 Market Outlook Report is available on PPAI’s website. Learn more by watching a webinar hosted by ITR or by contacting Mo Das, PPAI research manager, at or 972-258-3058.