NetPlus Outlook: 3 in 4 Members Expect 2024 Sales Improvement - Modern Distribution Management

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NetPlus Outlook: 3 in 4 Members Expect 2024 Sales Improvement

Meanwhile, about one-third reported decreased gross margins because of supplier price increases and other cost pressures.
Credit: Mike Hockett

NetPlus Alliance‘s members — comprised of industrial and contractor supplies distributors — remain mostly optimistic for continued growth in 2024, according to the buying group’s latest quarterly Industry Outlook report.

Nearly 46% of members reported significant gains through the third quarter of 2023 (+8% or more), with an additional 35% reporting moderate gains (+3% to 7%), according to an October survey of distributors featured in NetPlus’ fourth quarter report. About three-quarters of them are expecting sales to be up in 2023.

The distributors said that focusing on new product-line opportunities, capturing business with existing and new customers, hiring new salespeople, adding new branches and taking market share have contributed to this growth.

NetPlus AllianceSome NetPlus Alliance member distributors are more conservative in their forecasts for 2024, citing industry slowdowns and fewer long-term projects in their customers’ pipelines. About a third of respondents reported decreased gross margins because of supplier price increases and other cost pressures.

The distributors continue to experience challenges in hiring, training, and retaining employees.

“It will be an interesting year in a lot of ways: a presidential election, two significant regional wars, and a robust economy, but with an inflation level that the Fed is trying to get under control,” NetPlus Alliance founder Dan Judge said in a Dec. 12 news release. “The survey results for the third quarter are still very positive but do show some signs of softening.”

In this quarter’s survey, NetPlus Alliance also asked distributor members about their business plans for 2024. Nearly 83% reported plans to sell more to existing customers, with another 56% investing in operational improvements to increase productivity.

The NetPlus Alliance Industry Outlook tracks business results and trends in the industrial and contractor supply markets. The latest quarterly survey was completed by 3 Aspens Media in October 2023, and the outlook was based on members’ third-quarter results. NetPlus Alliance negotiates pricing, rebates and terms with more than 200 manufacturers on behalf of 415 industrial and contractor supplies distributor members.

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