Respondents to ASA’s monthly sales report enjoyed a median sales increase of 19.3% for September 2021 vs. September 2020.

The ASA monthly sales report is prepared in partnership with longtime industry business intelligence partner Industry Insights each month.

Industry Insights reminds members it is worth noting the context of September 2020 as a month in which some states were in the early stages of the pandemic reopening process. 

“This is reflected in the strong sales growth figures reported by respondents in this month’s results,” Industry Insights explained. “The year-to-date and trailing-12-month figures remained strong when compared against 2020, a year that had multiple weeks, if not months, of closures or partial closures.”

Worth watching going forward, in comparison to the previous month — September 2021 vs. August 2021 — respondents reported a decline in median sales of -3.0%.

On a year-to-date basis through the end of September, half the respondents reported sales growth of more than 20%. On a trailing 12-month-basis, respondents reports average sales growth of 15.7% and a median of 17.0%.

Half the respondents reported trailing-12-month changes between 10.3% to 22.3% for sales growth.

Inventory rose 31% for September 2021 vs. September 2020. The median three-month average days sales outstanding remained at 40 days for September.

“It was another strong month in terms of year-over-year sales performance, but it’s largely being driven by a weak 2020 where much of the country was shut down or operating at reduced capacity,” Industry Insights Senior Vice President Greg Manns said. “ It was good to see that it was still relatively strong year-over-year — though September was slightly down vs. last month for most respondents. Supply chain and labor issues continue to be concerns/headwinds. “

Industrial PVF

Industrial PVF distributors reported a median sales increase of 20.0% for September 2021 compared to September 2020.

Calendar year-to-date, PVF distributors reported a 15.9% median sales increase, while the trailing 12-month figures come in at median growth of 9.2%.

Economic indicators

The advance of real GDP figure for the third quarter of 2021 was released at 2.0% growth. Total wholesale sales for August grew 23.7% year-over-year, while inventories grew 12.3% vs. the prior year. 

Supply chain, labor and inflationary pressures continue to present headwinds, slowing the hosing figures. Unemployment rates for September fell to 4.8% and initial claims for unemployment continued to decline, remaining below 400,000 for the fourth consecutive month—both figures reached their lowest levels since the beginning of the pandemic. 

What ASA members are saying

Here are some comments from ASA member companies that participated in this month’s sales report.

  • “Business is very robust.”
  • “Business seems to be slowing, but still strong.”
  • “Demand remains very strong despite consistent price increases from manufacturers."
  • “Inflation, supply chain and people/hiring issues continue.”
  • “Our YTD results are up slightly on our 2019 YTD results, which was a good year for us, so we are recovering from the COVID tsunami nicely.”
  • “Prices continue to rise and we’re having supply shortages all over, but demand is keeping up, which is allowing us to succeed.”
  • “Seeing a strengthening in the industry, but having a hard time with finding employees and continually fighting the COVID battles. Supply and demand is a struggle as well as there is a short supply of products right now.”
  • “We are having problems obtaining qualified employees. We are in better condition obtaining inventory. Prices are increasing in all areas of inventory and supplies. We will have another record year unless there is a major downturn.”