“Relatively speaking, consumer confidence continues to grow, and lower gas prices certainly have helped."
More than half (54%) of suppliers reported a year-over-year increase in Q4 sales, while only 15% reported a decrease. About 47% of small-revenue suppliers (less than $5 million in annual sales) reported a jump in Q4 sales. In contrast, nearly 80% of larger-revenue suppliers ($5 million or more) increased sales in the fourth quarter. “We performed very well, experiencing double-digit growth for both the fourth quarter and 2014," said CJ Schmidt, president of Top 40 supplier Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125). “Fourth quarter sales spiked due to the popularity of tech-related products."
Going forward, suppliers appear confident that revenues will be stronger. “I believe that the industry will pick up in the second quarter and that we could see a good year," said Trevor Gnesin, CEO of Top 40 firm Logomark (asi/67866). “Hopefully, the turmoil in the rest of the world will not affect the USA market."
In January, Counselor reported that distributor sales increased by 5.9% in the fourth quarter of last year and by 5.1% in 2014 overall. Meanwhile, the Counselor Confidence Index – a tool that measures distributor health and optimism – improved slightly to 114 in the fourth quarter, hitting its highest point in nearly a year.