5 Emerging Trends in the Promo Products World

Promo products are a fabulous marketing tool that drives brand awareness and improves customer loyalty. But just like other products, there’s what’s hot and trending and then there’s what’s on the pile from last year. You want to make sure you’re pitching the most on-demand products that will grab attention and get your client’s brand seen. Let’s explore what’s trending in branded merch right now so you can help clients get the most out of their promotions and maintain your status as a swag expert.

Trend #1: Eco-Friendly and Sustainability Products

Eco-friendly promotional products, such as reusable bags, stainless-steel straws and reusable water bottles are gaining traction. Consumers appreciate brands that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint, making sustainable promotional items a win-win for brand image and the environment. Remind your customers that their customers care and will have a more positive view of them if they opt for sustainable goods.

It’s not just about the product itself, though, it’s also about the materials. Educate your customers on how bamboo or recycled materials in a product will resonate with their audience. Even many apparel suppliers have at least one line of clothing made from recycled materials (some of them even donate a portion of sales to an environmental nonprofit). Make sure to include sustainable products in your presentation and remind customers of their importance.

Trend #2: Tech Gadgets and Accessories

As we all become more and more dependent on technology in all aspects of our lives, tech-related promotional products are in high demand. Items such as wireless chargers, Bluetooth speakers, earbuds and smart home gadgets not only offer utility but also reinforce a brand’s image. Recipients of these items will think more highly of the brand that gifted them. Plus, the nature of these promos means they’ll be repeatedly used (and likely shared), increasing the number of impressions your client’s logo gets.

A great time to gift these types of items is when they can be immediately used. Incentive trips, subscription services, employee welcome kits and new phone purchases are just a few examples when tech gadgets are very appreciated giveaways.

Trend #3: Personalization and Customization

More and more, consumers want a personalized experience. Be sure to stress this to all your clients and ensure they’re ordering promo that’s customized with a name, unique design or tailored message. These will go a long way to make the recipient feel valued and special. Look for other opportunities to add customization too. Is there room for a department name? Could each grade on a field trip wear a different colored T-shirt? What about different sized awards for different sales levels? Any opportunity to further personalize a promotional product will just increase the importance to the recipient, ultimately increasing how long they hold onto it.

Going totally custom is also money well spent. If your clients are open to it, partner with a supplier who makes entirely custom products. This is especially important if your customer has a mascot – you want the promo to reflect the exact likeness of the recognizable character, and the best way to do that is to go completely custom.

Trend #4: Health and Wellness Products

After the pandemic, health and wellness became paramount. Be sure to ask clients if they have a wellness program for their employees. If so, that’s an opportunity to pitch a wide variety of health-related items like sunscreen, pill organizers and first aid kits.

Work with gyms and help them develop new customer and client retention programs that involve promo. Fitness trackers, water bottles and yoga mats are great for this group, and larger gyms will also appreciate having seasonal apparel they can sell. Don’t forget to ask if they do fitness challenges, which are a perfect opportunity to award high performers with swag.

Other great markets to target with health and wellness items are spas and salons. Not only do they need soft items like robes and towels, but they’ll also want to gift VIP clients products like lip balm, candles or even chocolate.

Trend #5: High-Quality and Practical Items

Fabulous and functional: That’s what end-users want. The quality of the item matters, so be sure to remind clients of that if they’re getting hung up on price. Obviously, you have to work within budgets, but sometimes cutting corners too sharply can result in a cheap promo that doesn’t get kept and used. A low-quality item could also impact your client’s brand negatively. Remind them that in end-users’ minds, the quality of the product reflects the quality of the brand advertising on it.

Next, you want to think about usability. The best promo products are kept and reused, giving your client’s brand ongoing exposure. Premium notebooks, stylish drinkware and versatile tote bags are examples of products that offer lasting utility and keep your client’s brand top-of-mind. Creative promos will always make a big splash, but remember, it’s the reusable items that make the most out of your client’s advertising dollars.

The promotional products industry is constantly evolving, and it’s crucial to stay on top of what’s in so you can guide your clients to the best promotional campaigns possible. Work with your network of suppliers to get these on-trend promo products in front of your customers.