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Positive Vibes

Posted by Jay Busselle on December 27th, 2019

In 2018, apparel decorators were suspicious about the future. They had a lot of concerns about the future of business, the economy and other issues. This was reflected in a small dip in ASI’s industry’s health rating report. It was the first time in several years that decorators were a little less optimistic. (Report by Theresa Hegel / Research by Nate Kucsma | October 31, 2019: http://bit.ly/2Gk0SuT )

However, 2019 rolled along and the optimism was back! According to the ASI report, apparel decorators are once again bullish about the industry and the positivity should carry on into 2020, with decorators forecasting continued growth in the new year. Let the good vibes roll!

Did you recapture a bright outlook for 2020? Are you feeling the positive vibes? It’s still January… are you expecting to post sales increases and gains in profits for the rest of the year?

After attending 3 industry specific trade shows in the first three weeks of 2020 ( The ASI Show in Orlando, The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas and the Impressions Expo in Long Beach) I can say that the overwhelming feeling right now from apparel decorators and promotional product professionals, suppliers, vendors, business owners and sales reps everywhere is POSITIVE!

“The great thing about the decorated-apparel industry is its resiliency. Despite the economy, everyone still wants a new T-shirt or needs a company uniform to wear. We don’t sell ink or thread on fabric; we sell memories, connections and brand awareness.”

Marshall Atkinson, Atkinson Consulting

The Data Proves It!

According to the ASI report, decorators are exploring ways to increase their production capacity and diversify their decorating techniques. The most popular choices for planned equipment purchases are direct-to-garment printers, embroidery machines and screen-printing presses.

I bet you can guess which planned equipment purchase we would suggest you invest in… DTG!

The report added, “A sizable portion of survey participants pointed to DTG as a growing trend in the decorated-apparel industry, noting its usefulness for decorating small quantities that require quick turn times and online order fulfillment.”

What’s Trending for 2020?

The ASI report asked readers to share some insights about the biggest trends in 2020 for apparel decorators. Two things really jumped off the page for me. Predictably, many pointed to the continued growth of DTG printing and other forms of digital printing. Another trend that was pointed out was a healthy concern about the competition. It’s true that there has been an increase in competition from online giants (like Amazon, Custom Ink and 4imprint) as well as home-based crafters. Ugh! Why are there so many crafty moms?

Another quote from the report that I found very interesting was this:

"Customers are demanding very, very short turnaround times."

As my co-worker and good friend, Terry Combs says, “We live in an Amazon world… where customers want a product customized, they want just one, and they want it now!”

In conclusion… please allow me to summarize:

  1. Optimism is BACK!
  2. We don’t sell ink on t-shirts – we sell memories.
  3. DTG printing is a growing trend that satisfies a growing market