CHICAGO — Despite the impact of rising inflation and the lingering effects of a pandemic, a positive trend remains: a sizable share of laundry equipment and parts distributors saw their businesses on the rise again in 2022, based on results of our 2023 American Coin-Op Distributor Survey.
Roughly 57% of distributors polled in the annual survey say that their total business sales—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—were higher in 2022 compared to 2021. That’s just three percentage points lower than the year before.
About 14% of respondents say their 2022 total sales were lower than 2021’s, and 28.6% say that business was the same or similar compared to the prior year.
As for how distributors expect their 2023 overall sales will compare to those of 2022’s, nearly three-quarters of those polled are predicting brighter things for this year.
Distributors listed in the 2022 edition of the American Coin-Op Distributors Directory were invited to participate in this annual unscientific survey, which charts 2022 business and makes comparisons to previous years. In this summary report, percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
TOTAL YEARLY SALES FOR 2022
This year, 57.1% of distributors who were polled said their yearly sales were better in 2022 than 2021. In comparison to recent years, 60% of distributors said 2021 business was better than 2020’s and 45.5% said 2020 business was better than 2019’s.
The shares of distributors reporting better business in prior annual surveys was 67.7% in 2020, 56.3% in 2019, 53.1% in 2018 and 63.6% in 2017.
Some of those who described their 2022 total sales as being higher attributed their company’s performance to greater product availability from manufacturers, pent-up demand, and attracting new buyers of existing stores.
The portion whose business suffered last year blamed it on factors such as continuing supply-chain issues, higher costs, staffing issues, and a shortage of good laundromat locations.
Just as it had a year earlier, the area of replacement business rebounded further from its pandemic dip of 2020. More than 71% of distributors polled said their 2022 replacement business sales were higher than 2021’s. By comparison, 55% of distributors surveyed last year said that segment was up for them in 2021 compared to 2020.
In the 2021 survey, with results that included the first nine months of the pandemic, the share was just 31.8%.
In older surveys, the share was 61% in 2020, 58% in 2019, 68% in 2018 and 62% in 2017.
Roughly 7% of respondents say they saw their 2022 replacement business decrease from that of 2021’s, while 21.4% say it was the same or similar.
American Coin-Op asked distributors to list the number of new laundries they built and/or supplied equipment to in 2022.
In this year’s survey, the share of distributors that built and/or supplied equipment to three or fewer stores accounted for 50% of respondents. In previous surveys, that number was 46.7% for 2021, 47.8% for 2020, 51.7% for 2019, 58.6% for 2018, and 62.1% for 2017.
Companies building, or supplying equipment to, four or more new laundries in 2022 accounted for 50% of the total. That compares to 53.3% in 2021, 52.2% in 2020, 48.3% in 2019, 41.4% in 2018 and 37.9% in 2017.
The actual number of new laundries that distributors were involved with in some way in 2022 ranged from none to one respondent reporting his or her company dealt with 40 new stores.
About 36% of distributors polled said their new-construction sales total for 2022 was higher than the previous year’s. In older surveys, the new construction total was up for 45% for 2021, 46% for 2020, 62% for 2019, 46.9% for 2018 and 23.3% for 2017.
Roughly 36% of distributors surveyed said their new-construction sales total was lower in 2022 than in 2021. In previous polls, the share was 30% for 2021, 32% for 2020, 10% for 2019, 22% for 2018 and 47% for 2017.
The remaining 28.6% of distributors polled said their new-construction sales total for 2022 remained the same or was similar to the prior year’s. That compares to 25% for 2021, 23% for 2020, 29% for 2019, 31% for 2018 and 30% for 2017.
Coming Tuesday in Part 2: Equipment mix, and store sizing trends
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].