You are here

Annual Distributor Survey: Smoothing Out That Pandemic Dent (Conclusion)

2022 projections: Nearly 77% expect year’s sales to surpass 2021’s

CHICAGO — Another year into life with COVID-19, a sizable share of laundry equipment and parts distributors found their business on the upswing, based on results of our 2022 American Coin-Op Distributor Survey.

Sixty percent of distributors polled in the annual survey say that their total business—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—was better in 2021 compared to 2020. That’s 14 percentage points higher than the year before.

Twenty percent of respondents say their 2021 business was worse than 2020’s, and 20% say that business stayed the same compared to the prior year.

As for how distributors expect their 2022 overall sales will compare to those of 2021, more than three-quarters of those polled are predicting even brighter things this year.

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 2021 business and makes comparisons to previous years. In this summary report, percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Part 1 of this article examined 2021 total business, replacement business, and new-laundry construction. In Part 2, it was equipment mix and store size. Let’s conclude:


How do these numbers from 2021 compare to distributor business performance in years past? Here is a quick recap of facts and figures.

The average store that was newly constructed in 2021 has 5.7 top loaders, 27.3 front loaders and 29.5 dryer pockets, and covers 2,855 square feet. Here’s how it compares to new-store profiles from the previous five years:

  • 2020: 2.4 top loaders, 28.5 front loaders, 33.5 dryer pockets, and 2,845 square feet
  • 2019: 1.9 top loaders, 30.3 front loaders, 34.4 dryer pockets, and 2,990 square feet
  • 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


Distributors were also asked if their company brokers vended laundries. Roughly 24% of respondents to this year’s survey say they do, compared to 44% in 2021, 26% in 2020, 34% in 2019, 31% in 2018 and 34% in 2017.

Nearly 56% of distributors polled operate a route laundry. That compares to 48% in 2021, 51.6% in 2020, 40.6% in 2019, 50% in 2018, 38.6% in 2017 and 36.2% in 2016.

The share of distributors that host an annual equipment show is 46.2%. That compares to 52.2% last year, 54.8% in 2020, 47.7% in 2019, 50% in 2018, 47.7% in 2017 and 57.5% in 2016.


How are distributors feeling about their 2022 overall sales, especially as we continue to deal with business uncertainties stemming from the pandemic and other world events? Many are highly optimistic.

Nearly 77% of respondents believe their 2022 sales will be better than those of 2021, while 17.6% believe they will be about the same. The remaining 5.9% believe that 2022 business will be worse than 2021 totals.

Miss any earlier parts? You can read them here: Part 1 - Part 2


Annual Distributor Survey: Smoothing Out That Pandemic Dent

(Photo: © remicki/Depositphotos)

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