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UK promotional industry battered by the recession

It’s not that surprising but it is rather sad to hear of figures issued by the BPMA recently that show just how badly the UK’s promotional industry has been battered by the storm of the global downturn. 2009 witnessed another large rise in the number of companies ceasing trading, with both distributors and suppliers hit – but distributors definitely feeling more of the pain.

The number of distributor firms going to the wall per annum rose by over 450% between 2006 and 2009, jumping from 32 to 181 companies (a staggering 10% of the market). For suppliers, the number ceasing trading during the year rose by almost 100%, from 28 in 2006 to 53 in 2009.

The overall worth of the UK’s promotional merchandise market has also taken a hit – down to an estimated £722 million, from over £1 billion just a couple of years ago.
Some high profile distributors have fallen victim to the economic turmoil, including CMC (for many years the third largest distributor in the country), Non Stop Promotions & PPAG – the latter two having dealt the blow of large debts to several supplier firms.

What is the forecast for those – like The Corporate Carrier Company – who have managed to weather the storm? We do seem to be seeing some green shoots in the promotional products industry but – and it’s a big but – the marketplace is very different to that experienced a few years back. It’s significantly smaller, of course, and it’s full of clients with value for money at the top of their shopping list. But, as ever, there’s always quality of service to differentiate suppliers from one another…

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