Global Distributor Sales of Promotional Goods up Nearly 12% in 2021

March 13, 2022
Global Distributor Sales of Promotional Goods up Nearly 12% in 2021
Results of the latest quarterly sales survey released today by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) prove the ongoing resilience of North American promotional products distributors, with total annual revenue rising to $23.2 billion in 2021, despite ripple effects from a persistent supply chain imbroglio.

Results of the latest quarterly sales survey released today by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) prove the ongoing resilience of North American promotional products distributors, with total annual revenue rising to $23.2 billion in 2021, despite ripple effects from a persistent supply chain imbroglio.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of North American distributors of logoed promotional items like pens, caps and T-shirts (72%) increased annual revenue in 2021, according to the Distributor Quarterly Sales Survey from ASI, the largest membership organization in the promotional industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers. On average, total distributor sales rose year over year by 12%.

“Distributors and suppliers alike tell me their 2022 is off to a very strong start, with many citing the reopening of sporting, education and corporate events as bullish indicators for the months ahead,” said ASI CEO Timothy M. Andrews.

While 2021 sales remained below the $25.8 billion industry record set in the last full pre-pandemic year of 2019, it represents a remarkable bounce-back for an industry whose collective revenue fell nearly 20% in 2020.

Nate Kucsma, ASI’s senior executive director of research and corporate marketing, estimates that if lingering supply chain issues hadn’t dragged down sales, 2021’s total might have increased by another half-billion dollars. “The stiffest headwinds distributors faced last year weren’t caused by COVID, but by product availability,” Kucsma said. “And confidence is high among many distributors that once port logjams are resolved, 2022 could be another strong year.”

The double-digit annual gains experienced in the third and fourth quarters of last year were the greatest quarterly increases of at least the previous decade, and particularly impressive for an industry that typically experiences low-to-mid single-digit percentage gains.

Distributors reported that the top markets for sales in the fourth quarter were healthcare, followed by education, construction, manufacturing and nonprofits.  

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®; asicentral.com) serves a network of 25,000 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $23.2 billion promotional products industry.