Keynote speaker J. Michael Marks, president and co-founder of Indian River Consulting Group, asked the audience what they projected for the economy over the next 18 months. Participants included 58% distributors, 27% manufacturers and 15% identified as "other," such as consultants and magazine editors.
The response of the total group was: 52% said the economy would be a little better over the next 18 months; 15% said it would be a lot better; 10% said it would stay the same; 19% said it would be a little worse and 4% said it would be a lot worse.
Wholesalers tended to be more positive than manufacturers in this response, with 60% projecting a "little better" economy over 18 months vs. 31% of manufacturers. Only 2% of distributors said they expect the economy to get a "lot worse" vs. 12% of manufacturers.
Asked when they expect to see real evidence of an economic recovery, 41% of the total group responded with "third quarter 2002" and 32% said the second quarter. Another 11% projected an upturn in the fourth quarter and 7% predicted this would happen in the first quarter of 2002. The remaining 8% did not project a recovery in any quarter in 2002.