Distributor Sales Rise 5.2% In 2012

4th Quarter Sales Rise 5.1%

Distributor SalesAd specialty industry distributors increased their revenues by 5.2% in 2012, reaching total sales of $19.4 billion, according to data released today by ASI. In addition, in the fourth quarter of last year, industry sales rose 5.1%, marking the twelfth consecutive quarter of growth. "The state of the economy seems like it has leveled off from the challenges of prior years," said Dave Thompson, CEO of Counselor Top 40 distributor National Pen (asi/281040). "The fact that we had an election was also certainly a positive factor in driving sales in general."

More than one-half (51%) of survey respondents reported an increase in sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to Q4 of 2011, with the largest distributors enjoying the greatest gains. Small firms (annual sales of $250,000 and under) reported an average Q4 sales increase of 1.8%, while medium-size distributors ($250,001-$1 million) reported an average revenue jump of 6.6%. Firms with annual revenues of more than $1 million reported an average Q4 2012 sales increase of 6.8%.

"We had a great year in 2012," said Mitch Mounger, president of multimillion-dollar distributor Sunrise Identity (asi/339206). "In fact, we had our best year ever, both in terms of top line revenue and bottom line profit. We were up over 11% for the year. Many companies that were holding back began to increase their marketing spend in 2012 – finally."

Distributors are fairly optimistic about sales for 2013, although they're not as hopeful today about revenue gains as they were at this time last year. More than two-thirds (67.1%) of all distributors expect their sales this year will be higher than their sales in 2012. However, in 2012, 77.1% of all distributors expected an increase in sales for the year. The largest distributors are the most bullish about 2013, with 72.1% anticipating higher revenues.

"I believe the industry is in for a slightly greater improvement in 2013 as the economy continues to improve," said Marc Simon, CEO of Counselor Top 40 distributor Halo Branded Solutions (asi/356000). "I expect Halo's sales to increase by approximately 10%."