Data from ASI, Stitches’ parent company, reveals that promotional products distributors grew revenues by 3.5% in the first quarter of 2015, the 21st straight quarterly rise.
Distributors credit the continued growth to everything from a stronger domestic economy to internal initiatives at their companies. “Overall, consumer confidence is higher than a year ago as key economic indicators reflect continued tailwind in the economy,” says Terry McGuire, senior vice president of marketing at HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000).
While the industry-wide sales growth is encouraging, the 3.5% increase is the smallest quarterly rise in the last five years. The previous slowest rate of growth – 4.6% – occurred several times during that period, most recently in the third quarter of 2014. The slowdown hasn’t dampened optimism for 2015, with more than 60% of distributors expecting sales to increase this year and 31% predicting they’ll remain steady.