Distributor Sales Surpass $20 Billion In 2013
Ad specialty distributors increased their revenues by 5.3% in 2013, pushing total industry sales to $20.5 billion last year, according to a report released today by ASI. Read Article
The result is an all-time annual high, besting the previous yearly record of $19.8 billion in distributor revenues in 2008. Data also showed distributors grew sales by 5.7% in Q4 of 2013, the 16th straight quarterly rise. Meanwhile, the Counselor Confidence Index – a tool that measures distributor health and optimism – improved to 113.2 in the fourth quarter, reaching its highest point since being introduced a year ago.
"The economy slowly returning to better health has been driving modest revenue increases throughout our industry," says Marc Simon, CEO of Top 40 distributor Halo Branded Solutions (asi/356000). "The more distance we put between ourselves and the 2008-2009 economic issues, the better off we are."
In 2013, 86% of larger distributors (more than $5 million in annual revenues) reported an increase in sales, while 68% of all firms – regardless of size – reported gains. In Q4, 54% of surveyed distributors improved revenues over the same period in 2012, with larger firms again making the biggest sales jump. The 5.7% Q4 increase is the best quarterly sales gain since Q1 of 2013 as firms closed the year strong.
"Generally, I think the business is finally rebounding from 2008 and 2009," says Rod Brown, managing director at MadeToOrder (asi/259540). "We were up 12% for 2013 versus 2012."
With the economy strengthening, distributors have high expectations for 2014. Data shows 74% of distributors anticipate an increase in sales this year, while only 4.5% of distributor firms are expecting a drop off in revenues. "Our overall experience is that we saw growth greater than the industry average," says Jo-an Lantz, executive vice president of Top 40 distributor Geiger (asi/202900). "We anticipate another great sales year in 2014. The industry will have another growth year, and we are expecting the same."
California Moves Closer To Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban
Recent legislative moves have put California on the brink of becoming the first state to ban single-use plastic bags at retail stores and supermarkets. Read Article
Last year, state Senator Alex Padilla sponsored a bill which would have phased out such bags at supermarkets, liquor stores and pharmacies, but the legislation fell short by three votes in the Senate.
Padilla has since reworked the bill with some colleagues, and they said the changes should win over key lawmakers. The changes would require retailers to charge at least 10 cents for a reusable, paper or compostable bag, while the earlier bill called for a suggested bag fee but didn't mandate one, according to the staff of Senator Kevin de Leon, who opposed last year's measure but is co-sponsoring the latest version.
The bill also would set aside $2 million to retrain workers in the plastic-bag industry for recycling jobs. It would stipulate that reusable bags contain at least 40% recycled material by 2020, and it would establish third-party certification of reusable plastic bags to ensure they meet California standards. "We need to find a way to balance the health of the planet with the preservation of people's livelihoods – and recognize the economic conditions faced by businesses in California," de Leon said. "This new bill is a compromise that bridges the gap and moves the economy forward into a green future."
Los Angeles and nearly 100 other cities in California have already passed various single-use plastic bag bans in their localities, but no state has yet passed the legislation that California is now preparing to pass. The new bill states that large supermarkets would have to do away with single-use plastic bags by the middle of 2015, while smaller stores would be granted exemptions until the middle of 2016.
After three unsuccessful attempts to outlaw single-use plastic bags, supporters of the bill say they are confident the most recent changes will help it to receive at least the 21 votes needed in the Senate for passage. "This breaks a decade-long deadlock on a statewide solution," said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste. "This bill is going to eliminate some 20-billion single-use plastic bags that become litter."
Internet Ad Spending Soars
Spending on internet advertising boomed in 2013, a year in which marketers also upped their investment into television and outdoor advertising. Read Article
That's according to the Nielsen Global AdView Pulse report, which revealed that worldwide spend on web display ads increased 32% year-over-year during the first three quarters of 2013. Outdoor advertising was the second fastest growing market, rising 5.1% during the same period. And while television advertising grew at a slower pace (4.3%), the older medium continues to capture the most ad dollars, accounting for 58% of spending on advertisements across the globe.
"While it comes as no surprise that internet is the most rapidly growing media type for advertisers, television is still the leading medium by spend by a long shot," said Randall Beard, global head of advertiser solutions at Nielsen. "But the really exciting development is how the two can work together. We are consistently seeing advertisers turn to integrated campaigns to connect with consumers on multiple screens, reinforcing their messages strategically to maximize impact."
While screen-based advertising expanded, traditional media outlets again experienced ad revenue declines. Newspapers dropped 2.2%, while magazines, radio and cinema also went backwards. Nonetheless, total global ad spending increased 3.2% during 2013's first three quarters. The Asia Pacific zone's 7% spike in ad spend made it the fastest-growing region, while the North American market ticked upward 1.7%. The situation was bleaker in Europe, where ad spend fell 3.8%, though Nielsen says this appears to be a bottoming out of contraction within the region.
The Joe Show: Eclectic Mix Of New Products
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off a variety of products good for an array of promotions. Read Article
Looking for a perfect item for upcoming spring golf tournaments? How about a unique product that's sure to garner attention at any live event? Watch The Joe Show for new product and promotional ideas.
Click here to watch this new-products episode of The Joe Show.
Delta Apparel Announces Quarterly Financials
Greenville, SC-based apparel supplier Delta Apparel (asi/49172) announced last week that its revenues in its most recent quarter fell by 6.4%. The company said that it recorded net sales of $100 million in its fiscal 2014 first quarter, ended December 28, 2013, compared to revenues of $106.8 million in the same time period a year ago.
In its public filing, the company said that it was impacted in its most recent quarter by falling sales of basic undecorated t-shirts. "The weak demand for basic undecorated tees experienced during most of the quarter began improving toward the end of December," said Robert W. Humphreys, Delta Apparel's CEO.
Humphreys also noted that the company has a cautiously optimistic outlook for its business. "We are seeing many positive things in our business," he said. "During the first quarter we started production on the new equipment installed as part of our manufacturing expansion, which should provide us capacity for future growth while lowering the cost on the incremental production."
Humphreys, though, tempered the enthusiasm a bit because of the forecast for what could be the rising price of cotton in the coming quarters. "We have many reasons to be optimistic about our business, but we believe our optimism must be tempered by certain risks that are in the marketplace," he said. "In recent weeks, speculation in commodities markets has caused cotton prices to rise significantly. It is still too soon to know if selling prices will reflect these higher raw material costs or what the potential impact on unit volumes may be."
ASI Radio: Overcoming Customer Service Snafus On today's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts provided listeners with ideas for how they can win over customers that they may have wronged. Plus, we revealed our Favorite Things, discussed ways to spark creativity, and talked about some off-the-beaten path Google tools that can help your business.
If you missed the show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don't forget to join us for our next broadcast – Tuesday, February 4. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show – and give us a call at (215) 953-4979 to hear your voice on the air.
Case Study: Extreme Turnaround
Sports broadcast network ESPN is always looking for innovative ways to market the Winter and Summer X Games, which feature extreme sports like surfing, BMX and snowboarding. ESPN has carried the Games since 1995 and counts on highly customized promotional products to build fan and athlete enthusiasm.
"ESPN never wants to do something off-the-shelf," says Lauren Laschewer, branding specialist at Axis Promotions (asi/128263), which counts the sports network among its clients. "They always want their items to have amazing full-color graphics that convey the action-packed spirit of the X Games."
Most recently, ESPN approached Axis with a unique idea for the Summer Games – one that led to an especially challenging project. The network sent Axis a photo of a snowboard made into a clock and wanted 250 of them put together on skateboards in a little more than a month. "They had no artwork or board dimensions, but they wanted full-color art on it," says Laschewer. "At first we thought we would have to use a skateboard deck company, but skate decks are produced overseas and we had no time. We were also told that even if they aired these in, they couldn't source or assemble the clock hands."
After a lot of brainstorming and research, Axis reached out to Commerce, CA-based Premium Shapes, a promotional plastics company, which was able to construct the skateboards and the clock hands for ESPN's marketing campaign. It was a close call, but the finished product was a crowd-pleaser.
For more on this case study, and to see how promo products worked for this client, click here.
Counselor Unveils Distributor Choice Award Winners
At a ceremony during ASI Orlando, Counselor unveiled this year's Distributor Choice Award winners – the industry's top suppliers in 60 product categories. Seattle-based iClick (asi/62124) won the top award as 2014 Counselor Supplier of the Year, leading a group of 42 total companies that were honored.
This year's awards also included two new categories – children's apparel, won by alphabroder (asi/34063) and party products, won by WOWLine (asi/98360).
Click here to see the entire group of award winners, as voted on by distributors.
Last Chance: Nominate Now For Counselor's Hot List
Are you doing something unique, hip, fun or trendy in the industry right now? Do you know somebody who is?
Counselor is looking for nominations of people for its annual Hot List. We're on the lookout for anyone in the industry who is taking an interesting approach to business, shaking up the status quo or simply networking like a maniac at all hours of the night. We're in search of those people who are making the industry a unique marketplace that's fun and energetic.
Send an e-mail by Friday, January 31, to Karen Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why your nominee should be recognized on Counselor's Hot List. And, please make sure to include a picture of the person you're nominating. Thanks!
In The News
Bic Graphic (asi/40480) announced that it is now offering the BIC Easy-Glide System Ink, a free option on over 50 BIC writing instruments. The supplier also announced that its Sleepy Eye Publishing facility has earned ISO 14001 environmental management systems certification.
Charles River Apparel (asi/44620) is hosting a nationwide model search for its upcoming 2015 catalog photo shoot. Talent is invited to log onto www.facebook.com/charlesriverapparel and submit a photo of themselves wearing any Charles River Apparel product. The grand prize winner will receive airfare, a hotel stay, plus guaranteed placement in the Charles River Apparel 2015 product Catalog.
iPROMOTEu (asi/232119) honored SanMar; Polyconcept; alphabroder; Bodek and Rhodes; Hit Promotional Products; BIC Graphic; Logomark; Prime Line; BagMakers; and ETS Express at its 10th annual 'Thank You' reception in Las Vegas. Gill Studios was the recipient of iPROMOTEu's Supplier Appreciation Award for exceptional support of iPROMOTEu during 2013. Kim Richardt of BIC Graphic was named iPROMOTEu's Supplier Representative of the Year.
Leed's (asi/66887) announced that it has introduced more than 400 items along with expansions to the most popular decorating methods, providing distributors with on-trend pieces and increased decorating options in the upcoming year. To see all of Leed's new products and services plus an electronic version of the 2014 catalog, visit www.leedsworld.com and www.leedsworld.ca.
PSL Canada (asi/75613) announced that it has obtained an exclusive supplier agreement with Tomax USA for Canada. Tomax's line includes the latest in power banks, mobile accessories and wireless products.
The Allen Company (asi/34330) announced that it now has a Canadian operation based in Paris, Ontario, Canada. For more information about the supplier's expansion into Canada, go to www.allenmugs.ca.
People On The Move
CleggPromo (asi/45450) announced the promotion of Nicole Claunch to the role of outside sales representative. Claunch was previously an inside sales account executive handling states in the Northeast and Western regions of the country.
Specter & Co. (asi/88660) announced that it has hired Catarina Rossi as its social compliance and sustainability manager.
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NETWORK WITH THE INDUSTRY'S ELITE
Are you interested in participating in fASIlitate, ASI's hosted buyer event? If so, let us know by filling out this form. fASIlitate offers million-dollar sales producers the unique opportunity to spend private time with the industry's most sought-after suppliers. During pre-set private meetings, you'll be able to discuss sales initiatives and projects with the vendors you are most interested in working with. Participating distributors receive luxurious accommodations and travel at no cost.
After hours, spend time networking with the industry's elite during special events and exquisite meals.
The four 2014 fASIlitate events include:
March 24-25 • Hyatt Regency Long Beach • Long Beach, CA (prior to ASI Long Beach)
April 1-2 • New York Marriott Marquis • New York, NY (prior to ASI New York)
May 4-7 • Lago Mar Resort and Club • Ft. Lauderdale, FL
September 16-19 • Arizona Biltmore Hotel • Phoenix, AZ (after the ASI Power Summit)
Click here if you are interested in attending. Or, contact Rafael Dosman at 800-546-3300, ext. 3564 with any questions. Visit www.fasilitate.com for more information or click here for a great video about fASIlitate!