Annual Distributors Survey Offers Mixed Results (Conclusion)

Bruce Beggs |

2018 sales projections: 56.3% expect year’s sales to surpass 2017’s

CHICAGO — The share of distributors reporting their business had improved year-over-year declined for the fourth straight year, yet still represented the majority polled in American Coin-Op’s annual Distributors Survey. A majority of distributors is also expecting overall 2018 sales to surpass those of 2017.

Slightly more than half of distributors polled (53.1%) say that business—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—was better in 2017 compared to 2016. When it comes to sales projections, a slightly larger share (56.3%) believe their company’s 2018 overall sales will be better than 2017’s.

Approximately 22% of respondents say 2017 business was worse than 2016’s, while 25.0% say that business has stayed the same.

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 2017 business and makes comparisons to previous years. In this summary report, percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

NEW-STORE PROFILES OVER THE YEARS

So, how do the numbers from 2017 compare to distributor business performance in years past? Here is a quick recap of facts and figures.

The average newly constructed store in 2017 has 2.5 top loaders, 28.6 front loaders and 33.4 dryer pockets, and covers 2,824 square feet.

Here’s how it compares to new-store profiles from the previous five years:

  • 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
  • 2012: 3.4 top loaders, 28.0 front loaders, 30.8 dryer pockets, and 2,754 square feet

OTHER BUSINESS

Distributors were also asked if their company brokers vended laundries. Roughly 31% of respondents to this year’s survey say they do, compared to 34% in 2017, 25% in 2016 and 41% in 2015.

The share of distributors operating a route laundry increased, with exactly 50% of respondents in this year’s survey saying they do. That compares to 38.6% last year, 36.2% in 2016 and 52.5% in 2015.

The share of distributors that host an equipment show annually was also 50%, compared to 47.7% in 2017, 57.5% in 2016 and 76.9% in 2015 (check the American Coin-Op Calendar throughout the year for notices of upcoming events.)

DISTRIBUTOR FORECAST

How do distributors feel about 2018 overall sales? Are they positive or negative? For 56.3% of respondents, 2018 sales are expected to be better than those of 2017, while 37.5% believe they will be about the same. Just 6.3% believe that 2018 business will be worse than 2017 totals.

Miss the earlier parts? You can read them here:

Part 1 — 2017 business; replacement business; new laundry construction

Part 2 — Equipment mix; surveying store size

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

 

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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