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Coming off a Strong 2017, Licensing Execs Cautious Going into 2018

Bucking the trend from previous years, hope does not spring eternal. According to The Licensing Letter’s Annual Licensing Business Survey, over 70% of licensing companies experienced growth in retail sales in 2017.

In contrast, 21% of respondents reported declining sales, and 7% had flat growth. This trend has been observed over the last couple of years, where the number of responses reporting positive growth outnumbered those reporting no or declining growth by a 2:1 ratio.


Despite coming off a relatively good year, licensing executives are cautious for 2018. Almost 60% of Survey respondents expect their business to grow—down from 67% last year. Of those predicting growth, nearly half looking at growth of 20% or higher. That makes this year’s respondents more in line with those of previous years: Only 56% were optimistic about their future in 2015, with nearly 66% predicting that growth would exceed 10%.

Most respondents cited compressed margins, market saturation, and increased costs when outlining their biggest hurdles to overcome in 2018. Because of these concerns, over 40% of respondents expect to see flat or slightly declining growth in their business over the next year.


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