Survey: Business Numbers a Bit Brighter (Part 1 of 3)


(Photo: ©

Paul Partyka |

CHICAGO — Is your laundry still suffering from the lingering effects of the recession, or are you finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel? It seems to be a mixed bag when it comes to the state of the industry.Some of the business numbers in this year’s survey are a bit more positive than last year, yet operators didn’t purchase as much new equipment in 2010 as they did in the prior year.American Coin-Op’s annual State of the Industry survey focuses on 2010/2011 business conditions, pricing, equipment, common problems, turns per day, expenses and utilities cost.The survey is an unscientific electronic poll of American Coin-Op readers who operate stores.2010 BUSINES VS. 2009 BUSINESSIn 2010, slightly more than 40 percent of respondents saw business increase from 2009.More specifically, 42 percent of the operators report an increase in business (gross dollar volume) in 2010 compared to 2009. In last year’s survey, 40.2 percent reported an increase in business, and two years ago, 46 percent reported a bump in business.The average 2010 business increase is 10.8 percent, up from 7.9 percent last year. Other past increases were 14 percent (2008) and 12.2 percent (2007).Here’s a closer look at the 2009 business increases (these figures relate to those reporting an increase, not all the respondents):

  • Operators with a business increase of less than 10 percent: 59.4 percent;
  • Operators with a business increase of 10 to 14 percent: 13.5 percent; and
  • Operators with a business increase of 15 percent or greater: 27.1 percent.

The largest increase in 2010 was reported to be 40 percent.Fifty-eight percent of respondents saw business decrease last year. In last year’s survey, 59.8 percent saw a drop in business. In the three prior surveys (2008, 2007 and 2006), the average was 44.6 percent.The average 2010 business decrease is 11.2 percent, down a bit from last year’s figure (13.7 percent). The 2008 figure was 14.3 percent, and in 2007, the figure was 13.2 percent.Were the losses consistent or did they vary? Here’s a closer look at the 2010 business decreases:

  • Operators experiencing a business reduction of less than 10 percent: 52.6 percent;
  • Operators experiencing a business reduction of 10 to 14 percent: 15.7 percent; and
  • Operators experiencing a business reduction of 15 percent or greater: 31.7 percent.

The largest reported decrease in 2010 was 50 percent. Two operators reported a 50-percent drop.Overall, these results were a bit more positive than last year’s numbers. The number of operators reporting an increase in business was up slightly from last year, as was the average business increase.The average business decrease (11.2 percent) was also a bit lower than the prior year. In addition, the number of operators suffering a large business reduction (15 percent or greater) shrunk from 53.8 percent (2009) to 31.7 percent (2010).DROP-OFF-SERVICE BUSINESSA variety of surveys continue to show that most people are strapped for time, and are looking for ways to free up that precious commodity. One would think that drop-off service should be flourishing.On the other hand, operators having been commenting on the fact that drop-off-service business has been hurt by the recession. In addition, operators have been reporting that customers have been reducing their number of store visits in hopes of stretching their budget a bit.Did drop-off service rebound in 2010 or are customers still considering it a bit of a luxury?The numbers are similar to last year’s results. Slightly more than 47 percent of respondents report an increase in drop-off-service business (gross dollar volume) in 2010. The same number (47.3 percent) reported an increase in business in 2009. In 2008, approximately half of the respondents had an increase in business.The average drop-off-service business increase is 13.3 percent, more than double last year’s increase (6 percent). It should be noted that a handful of respondents reported an increase of more than 20 percent.Fifty-three percent saw a decrease in drop-off-service business. The figure was the same last year, and two years ago it was 50 percent.The average decrease is 18.8 percent, down a bit from last year’s figure (24.2 percent). In 2008, the average drop-off-service decrease was 20.6 percent.Nearly 35 percent of respondents offer some type of drycleaning service. Last year was not a great year for this service. Only 30 percent reported a business increase. The average business increase is a modest 8 percent. The average business decrease is 14.7 percent.VENDING RESULTSOne-third of the respondents had an increase in vending sales in 2010, nearly the exact figure from last year’s survey (32 percent). In 2008, 46 percent reported an increase in sales.The average vending gain is 9.2 percent, up a bit from last year’s  figure (7.5 percent).The average decrease in vending business is 12 percent, a bit lower than last year’s average decrease (15.4 percent).Please check back Wednesday for Part 2 of this story. 

About the author

Paul Partyka

American Coin-Op

Paul Partyka was editor of American Coin-Op from 1997 through May 2011.


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