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Annual Distributor Survey Shows Business Bump for Majority (Conclusion)

2019 sales projections: 56.3% expect year’s sales to surpass 2018’s

CHICAGO — For the first time since 2014, 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.

A majority of distributors is also expecting overall 2019 sales to surpass those of 2018.

More than half of distributors polled (56.3%) say that their total business—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—was better in 2018 compared to 2017.

When it comes to sales projections, an identical share (56.3%) believe their company’s 2019 overall sales will be better than 2018’s.

Approximately 19% of respondents say their 2018 business was worse than 2017’s, while 25.0% say that business has stayed the same.

Distributors listed in the American Coin-Op Distributors Directory were invited to participate in this year’s unscientific survey, which charts 2018 business and makes comparisons to previous years. In this three-part summary report, percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.


So, how do the numbers from 2018 compare to distributor business performance in years prior? Here is a quick recap of facts and figures.

The average newly constructed store in 2018 has 3.1 top loaders, 26.5 front loaders and 27.8 dryer pockets, and covers 2,948 square feet. Here’s how it compares to new-store profiles from the previous five years:

  • 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.
  • 2013: 4.5 top loaders, 26.6 front loaders, 32.8 dryer pockets, and 2,663 square feet.


Distributors were also asked if their company brokers vended laundries. Roughly 34% of respondents to this year’s survey say they do, compared to 31% in 2018, 34% in 2017 and 25% in 2016.

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

The share of distributors that host an equipment show annually is 47.7%, compared to 50% in 2018, 47.7% in 2017 and 57.5% in 2016 (click on our Calendar tab on this website throughout the year for notices of upcoming events).


How do distributors feel about 2019 overall sales? Are they positive or negative? For 56.3% of respondents, 2019 sales are expected to be better than those of 2018, while 31.3% believe they will be about the same. Roughly 13% believe that 2019 business will be worse than 2018 totals.

Miss the earlier parts? You can read them here:

Part 1 — 2018 business; replacement business; new laundry construction

Part 2 — Equipment 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.


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(Image: © depositphotos/rbhavana)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].