The third quarter saw ad specialties sales drop 10.9%, or about $551 million, versus the same period last year, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute.
The drop, however, may carry some good news signaling that the steep declines over the last five quarters may finally be slowing.
Sales declined 13.9% in the second quarter and 18% in the first quarter. The decline began in the third quarter of 2008 when sales dipped by 1.6%. In 2008, overall promotional products sales were $19.8 billion, up 1.2%over 2007.
Close to 30% of respondents reported sales were up 11% from 19% in the second quarter. Larger distributors ($1 million or greater in revenue annually) showed the smallest decline in sales, off 8.1% versus 12.8% in the second quarter.
“This indicates that perhaps the economic climate is improving for the advertising specialty industry,” Timothy Andrews, chief executive officer of ASI [http://www.asicentral.com], said in a release.
About two-thirds, or 65%, of distributor firms are anticipating an average increase in sales of 13.5% for all of 2010 versus all of 2009. Among those expecting lower sales, the average decrease is 16.5%.
In other news, ASI has established four new advisory boards. ASI Advisory Board; Technology and Operations Advisory Board; Marketing, Public Relations and Industry Research Advisory Board and Safety and Legislative Advisory Board.