CHICAGO — Distributor business and industry outlook is on a continued upswing, as the majority polled in American Coin-Op’s annual Distributor Survey enjoyed better business than the previous year, and is expecting overall 2014 sales to surpass those of 2013.
More than half of distributors (53.7%) say that business—including sales of newly constructed self-service laundries and replacement business—was better in 2013 compared to 2012. When it comes to sales projections, the same percentage believes 2014 sales will be better than 2013’s.
Roughly 12% of respondents say 2013 business was worse than 2012’s, while 34.2% say business has stayed the same.
Every distributor listed in the American Coin-Op Distributors Directory was invited to participate in this year’s unscientific survey, which charts 2013 business and makes comparisons to previous years.
This year, 53.7% of distributors polled said business was better in 2013 than 2012. This is a slight dip in business performance, however, compared to results of the 2013 Distributor Survey, in which 60% of respondents said 2012 business was better than 2011’s. In the 2012 survey, 55% said business was better in 2011 than 2010.
Those who experienced better business in 2013 attributed their performance to a growing or recovering economy in their area, while others said it was because of their investment in better advertising, or an increase in market demand among coin laundry owners, among other reasons.
Those whose business suffered in 2013 said factors like restrictive financing, slow economic growth, and “lack of quality applicants,” as one distributor explained, took a toll on their business.
More than half (52.5%) of distributors say replacement business was up in 2013 compared to 2012. This is a slight improvement over the 51.4% who saw their replacement business increase in 2012 from 2011. This is all compared to 52.6% who saw replacement business increase in 2011 from 2010, and 39.3% who saw an increase from 2009 to 2010.
An even 20% of respondents saw 2013 replacement business decrease from 2012, while 27.5% say it remained unchanged.
Distributors were also asked to weigh in on how many new laundries they built and/or to which they supplied equipment in 2013.
Business performance in this area has remained virtually unchanged compared to previous years. In 2013, roughly 54% of respondents built or supplied equipment to three or fewer new laundries, down slightly from 55% in 2012.
The percentage was 54% in the 2012 survey for 2011 business, and 56% in the 2011 survey for 2010 business.
The actual number of new laundries distributors were involved with in some fashion in 2013 ran the gamut from just a single store to one respondent reporting his/her company dealt with 150 stores. Below is a rundown of the most popular answers from this year’s survey:
2) 1 and 4 (tie)
4) 2 and 6 (tie)
Roughly 43.9% of distributors surveyed said their new-construction total for 2013 remained unchanged from 2012. This is a sizable increase compared to last year, during which 23.5% said new-construction totals remained the same for 2012 business.
About 39% said their new-construction total was higher in 2013 than in 2012, which is comparable to previous years’ surveys.
Approximately 41% said their new-construction business was up in 2012; approximately 39% said it was up in 2011; and about 41% saw a business increase in 2010.
Roughly 17% of distributors said their new-construction total was lower in 2013 than in 2012, an improvement over last year’s survey in which 35.3% said new-construction totals were down for 2012 business.
Check back Wednesday for Part 2!