Top 200 Distributors
New growth results in record sales
By Laura D'Alessandro
Distributors had a great year. A strong economy resulted in fantastic growth that placed distributors on the threshhold of abundance as they round the corner into the millennium.
According to figures supplied by this year's participants in Business Forms, Labels & Systems Top 200 Distributors, 1998 sales have reached an outstanding 17.8 percent growth over 1997 sales from $1.519 billion to $1.789 billion--a $270 million increase. These figures are based on sales provided by those companies listed.
Not only is the amount of growth significant, but the areas in which distributors saw growth are also interesting. According to this year's Top 200 Distributors, 42.6 percent of their total sales were comprised of form sales. However, a whopping 46.4 percent of total sales were made up of non-forms products such as promotional products, commercial printing, binders and ribbons. This shows that distributors are finding their incredible growth through areas other than traditional forms, which in the past had made up the bulk of distributor sales.
As distributors continue to expand their product lines and add value-added services, the growth rate of non-forms products should continue to outpace that of traditional forms.
One product not included in the non-forms sales figures was the label. While not as prominent as other non-forms sales, labels still played a significant force in the distributor market with 9.9 percent of total sales for the Top 200.
The technology arena, however, remains fairly young in the distributor market with electronic forms making up only 1 percent of total sales.
Productivity for this year's Top 200 reached $283,940 in sales per employee for 6,303 employees and $1.7 million in sales per location for 1,057 locations.
As in the past, the Top 20 distributors dominated the market with $1.038 billion or 58 percent of the total sales for the Top 200. The Top 20 also had the greatest investment into their companies with 3,178 employees, more than half of the total employees for the Top 200. Those employees proved to be the most productive with an average of $326,770 sales per employee.