Top 100 Distributors
As reported in the October issue of Print Professional, total annual sales figures for the top 100 manufacturers were up from 2007 despite a year of financial uncertainties. Logically, one would expect the distributors to continue this upward trend. Fortunately, they didn’t disappoint.
Total annual sales figures for the top 100 distributors surpassed last year’s reported $3.2 billion, reaching a high of $3.5 billion for the last fiscal year completed. While this isn’t a drastic jump, it is still an impressive showing.
A surprising shift, however, is evidenced in the individual product sectors. Eight out of 11 categories showed increased profits from the previous year—some more significant than others. For instance, labels and tags sales reached $241 million (2007: $220 million); envelopes, folders and stationery resulted in $312 million (2007: $117 million); plastic products/cards sales culminated in $25 million (2007: $23 million); digital print sales came in at $201 million (2007: $126 million); and promotional products sales were $340 million (2007: $249 million).
Categories including direct mail, e-commerce and barcodes/RFID saw improvements far from modest. This year, direct mail achieved $177 million (2007: $77 million); e-commerce put forth a showing of $507 million (2007: $110 million); and barcodes/RFID reinforced their value in the marketplace with sales figures of $126 million (2007: $8 million). The discrepancy appears to stem from how distributors opted to fill out this year’s form. In years past, with categories such as e-commerce and barcodes/RFID, distributors typically included these products with other category sales like labels and tags—the rationale being the majority of label products include a barcode or can be ordered through an online store. But this year, many product categories were treated individually, giving the appearance that sales have suddenly skyrocketed with the latter categories.
Similar to 2007, sales decreased for forms and commercial print, and this year the “other” product category saw a decline. Forms still managed to dominate all product categories, boasting figures of $652 million (2007: $725 million); commercial print sales dropped to $378 million (2007: $439 million); and the “other” category finished with $330 million (2007: $513 million). Items comprising this category included roll products, office supplies and furniture, distribution/IT, fulfillment services, prepress services and filing products.
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