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Annual Distributor Survey: Smoothing Out That Pandemic Dent (Part 2)

Average new self-service laundry: 5.7 top loaders, 27.3 front loaders, 29.5 dryer pockets, 2,855 square feet

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. Let’s continue:


Based on this year’s survey results, the following is a quick analysis of equipment that distributors are installing in new stores across the country.

A little more than 30% of new stores in 2021 had at least one top loader. Shares in past surveys were 32% in 2020, 33.3% in 2019, 41% in 2018, 33% in 2017 and 46% in 2016.

Self-service laundries newly built in 2021 have an average of 5.7 top loaders, compared to averages of 2.4 per new store in 2020, 1.9 in 2019, 3.1 in 2018, 2.5 in 2017 and 3.2 in 2016. (These figures factor in new stores with no top loaders.)

When it comes to front loaders, vended laundries that were newly built in 2021 have an average of 27.3 machines. This compares to prior front-loader averages of 28.5 in 2020, 30.3 in 2019, 26.5 in 2018, 28.6 in 2017 and 33.3 in 2016.

Among the new stores built last year, 31.3% installed fewer than 20 front loaders and 68.8% installed 20 or more.

Vended laundries that were newly constructed in 2021 have an average of 29.5 dryer pockets. This compares to an average of 33.5 pockets in 2020, 34.4 pockets in 2019, 27.8 in 2018, 33.4 in 2017 and 39.1 in 2016.

Fewer than 20 dryer pockets were installed in 31.3% of new stores built in 2021. The share of newly built stores installing 20 or more pockets was 68.8%.


Are stores built in 2021 smaller and more manageable, or are they more spread out? How do the new stores built last year compare to earlier builds?

Stores constructed last year that are an average of 2,000 square feet or less account for 33.3% of the total, while 46.7% average between 2,001 and 3,000 square feet.

These figures compare to the 21.1% of stores measuring 2,000 square feet or less and the 52.6% covering between 2,001 and 3,000 square feet reported for 2020.

The largest newly constructed vended laundry built in 2021, according to the survey results, covers 8,200 square feet, while the smallest measures just 500 square feet.

The average newly constructed vended laundry store for 2021 covers 2,855 square feet, which is nearly identical to the 2,845-square-foot average of last year’s survey. Other prior averages in recent years were 2,990 (2019), 2,948 (2018), 2,824 (2017) and 3,132 (2016).

On average, a newly constructed store sold for $421,818 in 2021 (distributors were asked to exclude the cost of land and building). Prior average sale prices were $429,563 (2020), $497,864 (2019), $460,238 (2018), $520,045 (2017) and $558,097 (2016).

To read Part 1, click HERE, and check back Tuesday for the conclusion: new-store profiles over the years, other business, and the annual forecast

Annual Distributor Survey: Smoothing Out That Pandemic Dent

(Photo: © agsandrew/Depositphotos)

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