Promotional products industry sales were up six percent in March 2018, compared to the year-ago level, according to the PPAI/ITR Economics first-quarter 2018 Market Outlook Report. Indicators point to accelerated growth for suppliers and distributors through year end 2018, but expansion should start to slow within the next 12 months.

ITR Economics found the suppliers member index annual growth rate climbed 3.8 percent in first quarter 2018, measured year over year. The economic research and consulting firm forecasts suppliers turning in 3.8 percent growth in 2018. Looking ahead, the supplier member index will rise into late 2018, before declining into mid-2019—pulling suppliers back 1.1 percent in 2019—before rebounding into 2020, returning to growth of 5.8 percent.

Industry distributors registered growth of seven percent in first quarter, compared to the year-ago level. Like their supplier counterparts, distributors should see growth slow in the coming months. ITR projects distributor growth of 4.6 percent in 2018 before a mild contraction of 0.9 percent in 2019. In 2020, distributor growth should return, projected at 7.5 percent.

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. PPAI has produced a webinar for PPAI members interested in learning more about the reports and how to apply them in their business planning. “Strengthen Your Business Position,” presented by ITR Economist Eric Post, is available here.

An executive summary of the PPAI/ITR Economics’ first-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 contacting Mo Das, PPAI research manager, at or 972-258-3058.