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Annual Distributor Survey: Share Seeing Better Biz Grows for 2nd Straight Year (Conclusion)

2020 sales projections: 32.3% expect year’s sales to surpass 2019’s

CHICAGO — For the second consecutive year, the share of distributors reporting their business had improved year-to-year was larger than the prior year, according to the results of American Coin-Op’s annual Distributors Survey.

As for how distributors expect their 2020 overall sales will compare to those of 2019, there is almost an identical three-way split between those thinking it will be better, the same, or worse.

Nearly 68% of distributors polled say that their total business—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—was better in 2019 compared to 2018.

Approximately 13% of respondents say their 2019 business was worse than 2018’s, while 19.4% say that business stayed the same compared to the prior year.

But now operating in a COVID-19 environment with the world awaiting an end to the virus pandemic, just 32.3% believe their company’s 2020 overall sales will be better than 2019’s.

Distributors listed in the previous edition of the American Coin-Op Distributors Directory were invited to participate in this year’s unscientific survey, which charts 2019 business and makes comparisons to previous years. In this three-part summary report, percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

NEW-STORE PROFILES OVER THE YEARS

So, how do the numbers from 2019 compare to distributor business performance in years past? Here is a quick recap of facts and figures.

The average newly constructed store in 2019 has 1.9 top loaders, 30.3 front loaders and 34.4 dryer pockets, and covers 2,990 square feet. Here’s how it compares to new-store profiles from the previous five years:

  • 2018: 3.1 top loaders, 26.5 front loaders, 27.8 dryer pockets, and 2,948 square feet
  • 2017: 2.5 top loaders, 28.6 front loaders, 33.4 dryer pockets, and 2,824 square feet
  • 2016: 3.2 top loaders, 33.3 front loaders, 39.1 dryer pockets, and 3,132 square feet
  • 2015: 2.8 top loaders, 28.5 front loaders, 31.7 dryer pockets, and 2,639 square feet
  • 2014: 4.6 top loaders, 27.5 front loaders, 32.4 dryer pockets, and 2,696 square feet

OTHER BUSINESS

Distributors were asked if their company brokers vended laundries. Roughly 26% of respondents to this year’s survey say they do, compared to 34% in 2019, 31% in 2018 and 34% in 2017.

The share of distributors operating a route laundry increased from the prior year, with 51.6% of respondents to this year’s survey saying they do. That compares to 40.6% last year, 50% in 2018, 38.6% in 2017 and 36.2% in 2016.

The share of distributors that host an equipment show annually is 54.8%, compared to 47.7% in 2019, 50% in 2018, 47.7% in 2017 and 57.5% in 2016.

DISTRIBUTOR FORECAST

How do distributors feel about 2020 overall sales? Are they positive or negative? For 32.3% of respondents, 2020 sales are expected to be better than those of 2019, while 35.5% believe they will be about the same. Roughly 32% believe that 2020 business will be worse than 2019 totals.

Miss the earlier parts? You can read them here:

Part 12019 business; replacement business; new laundry construction

Part 2Equipment mix; surveying store size

And our distributor surveys from previous years, as well as other exclusive industry surveys, can be found in our Data section.