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The Promotional Products Association Int’l (PPAI), Irving, TX, published the results of its annual study, confirming that distributor sales of promotional products in 2007 increased 3.5% to more than $19.4 billion for 2007. This total sets a new sales record for the industry for the third consecutive year. According to PPAI, distributor sales for the same period in 2006 were $18.8 billion.

The study was conducted exclusively for PPAI by Richard A. Nelson, Ph.D., at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University; Rick Ebel, principal of Glenrich Business Studies; and Michaela Mora, research consultant at Relevant Insights, LLC.

Figures from the study show that sales of promotional products have increased by more than $670 million in 2007—a stark contrast to the revenue numbers for more traditional forms of advertising. Promotional-products sales growth reportedly far surpassed advertising revenues for newspapers (down 9.4%), television (down 4.4%), business magazines (down 4.2%), and radio (down 2%) from 2006. Promotional-products sales continue to surpass event marketing/sponsorships ($19.1 billion), cable television ($17.8 billion), Yellow Pages advertising ($14.6 billion), and outdoor advertising ($7.3 billion).

“This report marks the largest sales figure in the history of the industry,” says Steve Slagle, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “Promotional products continue to grow in popularity because, simply put, they work. Promotional products are the only advertising medium capable of engaging all five senses.”

This year’s survey included a question asking promotional consultants to predict how their company’s sales would do in 2008. According to the study findings, the vast majority of the promotional consultants expect sales to be up in 2008 compared to 2007 sales numbers—59% of smaller distributors (less than $2.5 million in sales annually) and 65% of large promotional consultant companies have a positive outlook for 2008. Fewer than 15% of those companies surveyed indicated that sales numbers would be less than reported in 2007.

The survey was sent to a sample of almost 16,000 promotional consultant companies (PPAI members and non-members), drawing from approximately 22,000 firms. The lists are compiled from PPAI and UPIC (Universal Promotional Identification Code) databases, as well as from four other industry firms/organizations. Companies surveyed were asked to report their promotional-product sales for the 12-month calendar year ending Dec. 31, 2007.

The companies were divided into two groups—those with sales of $2.5 million or more and those with sales of less than $2.5 million. Some companies have a large volume of business, and an omission of their numbers could distort the overall statistics, so a census was conducted of all companies earning $2.5 million or more in promotional-product sales. For smaller companies, a random sample of 12,500 firms was surveyed. For more information, visit

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