September’s promotional products industry sales were up 6.8 percent compared to the same month in 2017, according to the PPAI/ITR Economics third-quarter 2018 Market Outlook Report. Annual rate-of-change has plateaued over the past two quarters, marking April 2018 as a tentative business-cycle peak for the industry, although some indicators tracked in the Market Outlook Report suggest it could reach a new peak during the next two quarters. However, robust growth in late 2017 will mute year-over-year comparisons.

ITR Economics reports the Supplier Member Index annual growth rate climbed 6.2 percent in third quarter 2018, measured year over year. The economic research and consulting firm forecasts suppliers turning in six percent growth in 2018. Looking ahead, the supplier member index growth is expected to rise into the second half of 2019, before a brief, mild decline takes hold into early 2020. Growth should then rebound through at least the end of that year. ITR projects growth of 2.6 percent in 2019 and 2.1 percent in 2020.

Industry distributors registered growth of 7.4 percent in the second quarter, compared to the year-ago level. ITR projects distributor growth of 5.6 percent in 2018 before slowing to 2.5 percent in 2019. In 2020, distributor growth should rebound a bit to a projected 3.1 percent.

The PPAI Market Outlook Report is a quarterly snapshot of the promotional products industry. The goal of the report is to provide insight into current business-cycle trends that affect member companies, allowing members to make better business decisions to increase profitability and mitigate risk.

An executive summary of the PPAI/ITR Economics’ third-quarter 2018 Market Outlook Report is available on PPAI's website. To access the full report, become a participant in PPAI’s quarterly Market Outlook Survey. Learn more by watching a webinar hosted by ITR or by contacting Mo Das, PPAI research manager, at or 972-258-3058.