Press release

US Economy to Hold at Current Peak for Next 12 Months, Predict Sales Executives in MANA Survey

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“Very optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” over the next 12 months is the U.S. economic forecast from 70% of corporate sales executives participating in a recent study commissioned by the Manufacturers’ Agents National Association (MANA). “Very optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” was 71% of that group’s forecast for their own firms’ projected revenue and 64% for their own firms’ projected profits.

Softening sometime after the next 12 months is likely, suggests changes between this year’s and last year’s MANA surveys. This year’s survey showed a wider spread between the most optimistic and least optimistic respondents, which is an early indicator of an eventual softening in the economy.

About half of manufacturer sales executives predict no increase in capital spending at their own companies. Most report that their firms continue to have sufficient capacity to meet forecasted demand without new buildings or equipment in the next 12 months.

Outsourced sales firms (known as manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers’ agents) echo those corporate sales executives’ optimism, with 71% optimistic about the economy, 68% optimistic about their own revenue, and 66% optimistic about their own profits.

Utilization of manufacturers’ representatives by manufacturers will continue to rise over the next 12 months, say those executives. Last year 84% said they would increase or maintain the number of rep firms they use to provide sales services. This year that number jumped to 90%.

This should continue to bode well for agencies looking to expand their number of products or lines, as one-third of MANA-member agents have already increased their number of products or lines in the past twelve months.

“With continued pressure on manufacturers to do more with less, replacing costly sales employees with professional outsourced non-employee sales forces is a natural evolution to drive corporate efficiency and increase return on investment,” notes MANA CEO Charles Cohon.

MANA is a not-for-profit 501(c)6 trade association established in 1947. The annual study is conducted by Loyalty Research Center (LRC), an Indianapolis, Indiana-based market research firm.

The full economic outlook report is available to academia and MANA members from MANA CEO Charles Cohon