Last November when we published our 34th Annual Dealer Survey, it truly was simpler times. No one could have foreseen how dramatically things would change four and a half months later. But here we are.
Some of the more intriguing findings from our 2019 Survey focused on dealer concerns. As we launch this year’s Survey, we expect the responses in this portion of the survey will change dramatically from last year to reflect our current crisis.
Historically, we have asked dealers to identify their concerns from a list of ten options, as well as “Other.” In 2019, based on reader feedback, we added “Maintaining profitability” to the list. Let’s take a look at the list of concerns.
- Competing against manufacturers’ branches
- Declining print clicks
- Hiring and retention
- Keeping up with new technology
- Keeping up with the growing number of solutions on the market
- Maximizing revenue and profits from MPS
- Maximizing revenue and profits from MNS
- Effectively diversifying your product/solutions/services offerings
- Succeeding in production and/or industrial print
- A clear vision for where the industry is heading
- Maintaining profitability
Beginning in 2017 and again this year, we asked dealers to identify an unlimited number of concerns (in previous years we limited it to four). The number of concerns noted per respondent ranged from zero to 8 concerns with approximately one quarter of all respondents identifying more than four concerns.
The top three concerns in our 2019 Survey remained consistent with past years, with competition from manufacturer’s direct branches (35%), declining clicks (32%), and hiring and retention (16%) squarely entrenched as the three primary concerns. The order has not deviated since we’ve been tracking concerns.
However, the order shifts when we take into consideration all dealer concerns regardless of where the dealer ranked them as a concern. Here, the top three concerns are declining clicks (54%), hiring and retention (50%), and maintaining profitability (46%). Those are followed by competition from direct branches (39%), a clear vision of where the industry is heading (33%), effectively diversifying (29%), and maximizing revenue and profits from MPS (25%). It is clear with this data that dealers have plenty of concerns, with each of these receiving double-digit percentages across the dealer universe.
Maintaining profitability is an interesting addition to our list and its placement among the top three concerns regardless of positioning requires further commentary. Contributing to that concern are trends such as declining clicks, tighter margins, the need to diversify, competition from mega dealers (a concern noted in “Other”), and if you want to dissect things even further, every other item on the list. With 46% of dealers citing profitability as a concern, we’re surprised that figure wasn’t higher.
I’m no Nostradamus or Long Island Medium, but I predict that maintaining profitability and a clear direction of where the industry is heading will move up in the rankings in our 2020 Survey. The “Other” category will likely reflect current events as well.
Let your voice be heard. Click here to participate in our 35th Annual Dealer Survey.
Access Related Content