Promotional products have over time served as successful marketing tools for companies that want to communicate their brand message. They continue to provide a low cost, high impact opportunity for brands both big and small.
Promotional product trends have varied dramatically over time, so its interesting to understand the behavior that makes these products change through the years. What products that were popular in the past are not popular now? Since humans are a naturally social species, we are attuned to notice what other people are saying, wearing and talking about. If that something happens to be a brand, human nature decrees that we will take notice. In this article we are going to talk about how the products have varied over the last decade and why.
I know we are also all asking: How will this global pandemic effect promotional products trends in the future?
Let’s start from the beginning, In case you didn’t know, the first promotional product emerged in North America. They were the commemorative buttons to celebrate the election of George Washington as President. But we don’t want to go back that far, we just wanted to tell you how this started; we want to focus on the changes of the last ten years now that the decade is over.
The idea of just including a logo of a company on pens or pencils has well passed. When promotional products first rose in popularity they were mainly related to office items. Consequently, the most popular promotional products included pens, notebooks, mouse pads, pen holders, calendars, sticky notes, etc. Whilst these products are still a staple of the promotional products market they are now often supplemented with other on trend items.
Climate change and promotional products
As people have become more aware of climate change, some consumers have found that they prefer to buy sustainable products and ally with those brands that have proven to be socially responsible. That is why all eco-friendly, vegan or sustainable products have risen in demand. To support this trend, branded reusable, recycled and eco products have emerged as a great way to communicate brand messages whilst supporting the planet. For example: Plastic or glass bottles, steel straws, recycled bags, storage bags or coffee cups
Promotional products in the constantly evolving digital world
The mobile device over the last 10 – 15 years has become the center of everything. Cell phones are no longer a luxury and are devices that are part of the daily life of consumers. Brands had to venture into new advertising formats to ensure their permanence in the market. That is why companies have invested in promotional gifts relating to the digital world to stay front and center in people minds. Mobile phones: power Banks, chargers, solar chargers, ear plugs, USB cables or Phone cases are all popular and memorable promotional products.
QR Codes – a great new addition for promotional products
QR codes have made a connection between print and digital, allowing readers to have a large amount of information, easy to read and easy to spread. Although it is not a product itself, it is a very important element that has been added in this last decade.
Personalised promotional products – where everybody knows your name or …your coffee order
Just like the TV series Cheers theme song where “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name”, human nature longs for connection and belonging. The advent of new printing technology allows for that. Promotional products can be co-branded with company logos and a personal messages or name. Allow for a person to connect and belong to your brand whilst having their own identity is a very powerful new trend and a strong advertising opportunity for all Brands big and small.
Of course there are some products that are only desired for a short period of time. In 2017 the Fidget Spinner was categorized as the product of the year. But, as the graph below shows, its popularity peaked between April and July, then all interest faded away.
The new promotional product Pandemic trend – Hygiene and PPE
It is inevitable to think how this pandemic will affect our businesses. Will habits change?
In the last couple of weeks, there has been a massive change in how consumers buy their products. As people worry about the covid 19 infection rates, in store purchases have declined and online purchases have increased. In addition, the products they consume have changed. There is far greater demand for food and beverages, followed by personal hygiene items and then household cleaning items. Whilst Hand santisers and wipes have been around for quite a while – they are now amongst the most highly sought after items in town.
Will hand sanitisers and wipes be the most popular promotional products in the coming years? Will hygiene be our main priority? It definitely looks like a new trend here to stay at least in the medium term and perhaps for many years to come.