CHICAGO — While the share of distributors reporting their business had improved year-to-year was down slightly, the results of American Coin-Op’s annual Distributors Survey illustrates that business remains quite strong. The majority polled once again enjoyed better business than the previous year, and is expecting overall 2017 sales to surpass those of 2016.
Slightly less than two-thirds of distributors polled (63.6%) say that business—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—was better in 2016 compared to 2015. When it comes to sales projections, a slightly larger share (64.4%) believes 2017 sales will be better than 2016’s.
Just 13.6% of respondents say 2016 business was worse than 2015’s, while 22.7% 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 2016 business and makes comparisons to previous years. In this three-part summary report, percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
Since perfecting the right equipment mix is critical for a vended laundry store’s success, you must be wondering what equipment more and more store owners and distributors are installing in laundries across the country.
Here is a quick analysis on trends, according to this year’s survey results.
Nearly 46% of new stores in 2016 had at least one top loader, which is an increase from 2015’s figure of 41% but still well below 2014’s figure of 60%. Looking back further, the percentage of new stores with at least one top loader was 63% in 2013, 45% in 2012 and 58% in 2011.
Vended laundries newly built in 2016 have an average of 3.2 top loaders, compared to an average of 2.8 per new store in 2015, 4.6 per new store in 2014 and 4.5 per new store in 2013. (New stores with no top loaders are factored in.)
Breaking it down, following are the most popular number of top loaders installed in new stores in 2016:
3) 2, 8 and 12 (tie)
When it comes to front loaders, vended laundries that were newly constructed in 2016 have an average of 33.3 front loaders, a sizable increase from 2015’s average of 28.5, 2014’s average of 27.5 and 2013’s average of 26.6.
The most common number of front loaders installed in newly constructed laundries in 2016 was:
1) 30 and 40 (tie)
Vended laundries that were newly constructed in 2016 have an average of 39.1 dryer pockets, also a sizable increase from 2015’s average of 31.7. The average was 32.4 in 2014, 32.8 in 2013 and 30.8 in 2012, by comparison.
Following are the most common number of dryer pockets installed in newly built vended laundries in 2016:
SURVEYING STORE SIZE
Are the new stores that were built in 2016 smaller and more manageable, or are they taking up more real estate than in previous years?
The most popular store sizes, in square feet, reported in this year’s survey were:
3) 2,000 and 2,300 (tie)
Roughly one-fifth (20.6%) of the stores constructed in 2016 are 2,000 square feet or less, while 41.2% are between 2,001 and 3,000 square feet.
These figures compare to the 29.7% of stores measuring 2,000 square feet or less and the 47.5% covering between 2,001 and 3,000 square feet reported for 2015.
The largest newly constructed vended laundry built in 2016 covers 8,000 square feet, while the smallest measures just 500 square feet, according to survey results.
The average newly constructed vended laundry store for 2016 covers 3,132 square feet, which is by far the largest average store size in recent memory. Prior averages were 2,639 (2015), 2,696 (2014), 2,663 (2013), 2,754 (2012) and 2,721 (2011).
The average selling price of a newly constructed store—distributors were asked to exclude the cost of land and building—in 2016 was $558,097. This compares to $452,000 in 2015, $360,394 in 2014, $368,214 in 2013, $386,591 in 2012 and $366,000 in 2011.
Tuesday’s conclusion: Facts and figures; other business; and the annual forecast