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Dare to Compare: Mazars USA’s Consumer Products Annual Benchmarking Study

Benchmarking is the process of studying industry or competitive practices, functions and products and finding ways to meet or improve on them.

Companies use benchmarking to gauge their successes and pinpoint their shortcomings – monitoring key financial indicators is critical to sound business decisions and long-term success. To facilitate the benchmarking and decision making process, Mazars USA undertakes an annual benchmarking study for mid-sized consumer products companies.

This allows the comparison of an organization’s financial performance to that of similar high-performing companies. The data gathered identifies industry trends and critical issues. With the help of benchmarks, financial managers can develop goals, standards, and expectations for financial and operational data and improve their financial performance.

The 2018 study was conducted on mid-sized high-performing apparel, accessories and footwear companies with sales between $70 million and $200 million, importing from overseas, and with EBITDA of at least 7%:

Average Financial Benchmarks Based on Calendar 2017 Results

  • Sales growth of 4%
  • Gross margin percentage of 32%
  • Royalties as a percentage of sales of 8%-12%
  • Shipping and warehousing as a percentage of sales of 4% using a third party
  • General and administrative costs as a percentage of sales of 10%

2018 Trends

  • Anticipated 2018 sales growth of 5%
  • 55% of companies selling directly over the internet
  • 33% of companies selling to or thru Amazon
  • 79% of companies planned or implemented a digital/social media strategy
  • 56% of companies plan on increasing prices
  • 67% of companies reported expected increases in product cost
  • Recent healthcare cost increases of 7% – 8%

Key Business Concerns

  1. Changing retail channels ie. Brick & mortar to ecommerce
  2. Increasing profitability
  3. Product innovation
  4. Rising commodity costs

To see what other trends have been identified and how your company compares, please contact Stuart Nussbaum, Partner and Consumer Products Sector Leader at