The Numbers Game
Last month, Print+Promo checked in with industry suppliers as they struggled to find their sweet spot in the tepid economy. Their performance hinted at trouble with sales falling short compared to previous years. Would the distributors share the same fate? Not if 2014 numbers are any indication.
Distributors continued to move onward and upward with final sales from participants totaling $2.80 billion, a boost from last year's $2.76 billion. This figure does not include Standard Register Company sales (*Standard Register acquired WorkflowOne in August 2013 in a transaction valued at $218.0 million). The company recorded $719.8 million in revenue for the last fiscal year completed-an impressive number no doubt. However, because of Standard Register's unique position in the market, and its inability to break down how much of those sales fell under the distributor side versus manufacturing, Print+Promo was unable to accept its submission. Still, it is important to note that our top three generators enjoyed monetary increases of their own. InnerWorkings Inc. produced $891.0 million in sales compared to $798.0 million in 2013. Meanwhile, Proforma's numbers advanced to $464.8 million, leaving 2013's $430.3 million in the dust. American Solutions for Business jumped from $190.3 million to $195.5 million.
With the exception of one category, individual product sectors followed suit. The unlucky outcome belonged to plastic products/cards, which came in at $15.9 million, a departure from previous reports of $22.9 million.
Promotional products received top billing with $388.3 million (2013: $317.9 million). The printed forms category put forth its highest showing in two years reaching $183.5 million as opposed to $159.8 million in 2013 and $165.2 in 2012. Labels & tags consisted of $91.6 million (2013: $78.9 million); direct mail accounted for $92.4 million (2013: $86.4 million); and envelopes/folders/stationery hit $78.3 million (2013: $67.0 million).
The "other" category supported the notion of using ancillary products and services as a complement to core items. Sales were $89.5 million (2013: $61.7 million). Common responses for this sector included: