promotional products trends


Stay Ahead of the Curve in 2021

As a promotional products distributor, it’s important to keep up with changing buyer concerns and industry trends so you can continue selling products that fit your clients’ needs to help them reach as many consumers as possible. During COVID-19 times, consumer trends have shifted to more highly valued corporate ethics like honesty and generosity. Current promotional products trends also show that consumers are leaning more toward practical branded items that make their daily routines easier, as well as unique apparel items and accessories that bring out creativity in their self expression.

In order to remain competitive, promotional products distributors will need to stay up to date on trends as they continue to shift in the coming new year. Here is a wrap-up of the best 2020 promotional products trends to continue to keep an eye on as we head into 2021.

6 Promotional Products Trends to Watch for in 2021

Supplying Sustainably

The consumer emphasis on sustainability across industries continues to rise, meaning the packaging of your promotional products must follow environmentally friendly best practices. Blatantly over-packaging products or failing to use recycled, easily recyclable, or biodegradable materials in packaging is a major turn-off for many modern consumers.

In fact, in a McKinsey & Company survey, 55 percent of US respondents reported that they were extremely or very concerned about the environmental impact of product packaging. To meet rising consumer expectations for environmental friendliness, you’ll have to partner with a trusted supplier that follows sustainability best practices. Finding a sustainable promotional products supplier can be made easier by a preferred vendor program that allows you access to a network of trusted suppliers.

Additionally, eco-friendly products like reusable straws, grocery bags, and water bottles are consistently rising in popularity. These are great products to suggest to clients for promotional products as reusable items continue to gain traction with consumers and across multiple industries.

Helping Others

Corporate social responsibility has been another key element of consumer concerns over the past year, causing a surge in promotional products that reflect companies’ values and efforts within their communities. Whether it’s through the actual messaging on the product, its ethical sourcing, or social giveback programs where a portion of the proceeds goes to charity, companies have been increasingly using branded products to give back. Similar to the trend of sustainability, current consumers place high value in finding companies and products that align more deeply with their ethics.

As the world continues to face challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are overall more inclined to participate in charitable giving, despite the economic insecurity many are facing. According to a recent report from Indiana University’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), one-third of U.S. households donated directly when the pandemic hit, while 48.3% of Americans engaged in charitable giving indirectly. Promotional products with social giveback programs continue to play a part in indirect charitable giving for consumers across the U.S. This will likely remain an important trend moving forward, as corporate social responsibility played an integral role in buying decisions and brand loyalty even before the pandemic.

Providing PPE

As we mentioned in a previous blog, COVID-19 has led to a steep demand rise in PPE promotional products, like bandanas and face masks with company logos. Many businesses have invested in branded face masks for their employees during this time. The practical aspect of these branded products can aid essential businesses that must operate in-office in supporting COVID-19 regulations and best practices with proper PPE for every employee. Having branded masks on hand also ensures that clients, consumers, or any other visitors to the building can be quickly provided with a mask if they don’t bring their own.

On the other side of the equation, branded masks are great for marketing purposes since they’re worn on people’s faces, making branding exceptionally visible when compared to many other types of promotional products. Additionally, since face masks or bandanas are items that most people currently need in order to go out in public, the consumer demand for these items is extraordinarily high, giving many popular brands the ability to sell branded masks to their most loyal customers and fans.

As the variety of available types of PPE continues to expand, masks are increasingly becoming considered an extension of one’s fashion, so uniquely designed masks featuring prints, sayings, and different colors will appeal to consumers more and more in 2021. This is great to keep in mind if you’re selling promotional products to consumer-facing brands in the new year.

Using Electronics

Due to the technological focus of today’s world, electronic promotional products like phone chargers, headphones, and bluetooth speakers continue to increase in popularity. This is especially true now that more people are working from home and need to rely more heavily on electronics for both professional and personal uses — consistently communicating with coworkers, friends, and family.

This year branded headphones, wireless chargers, small bluetooth speakers, and even charging bags and backpacks have increased in popularity within the promotional products industry. Any product that helps people engage with technology more seamlessly on a daily basis is a great option to suggest to clients as we head into 2021.

Celebrating Uniqueness

Promotional products with unique custom designs, especially when it comes to apparel, continue to perform well in 2020 and likely beyond. With the high saturation and variety of promotional products available today, people are less satisfied with branded items that look generic, instead gravitating toward more innovative designs.

Similar to how consumers are increasingly searching for face masks that serve as an extension of their outward self expression, people are becoming more and more interested in promotional products of all kinds that look and feel custom-made and -designed. That’s why companies are (or should be) on the hunt for retail-inspired branded product designs that provide the perfect balance between being trendy and standing out from the crowd.

Supporting Overall Health

Additionally, promotional products related to health, wellness, and mindfulness reflect consumers’ current focuses in this challenging time. While the coronavirus limited some physical health resources through the closing of gyms and restricted access to certain health facilities, it also caused or exacerbated mental health problems for many Americans. In a KFF Tracking Poll conducted in mid-July, 53% of U.S. adults reported that coronavirus-related stressors negatively impacted their mental health.

Examples of promotional products that address consumers’ current focus on overall health and wellness are stress balls, yoga mats, cooling towels, water bottles that fit into the wellness category while also promoting sustainability, or fitness watch bands. Smart promotional marketers will cater to consumer needs by pushing branded products that follow this trend, as it appears to be here to stay, at least for the near future.

iPROMOTEu Helps You Shift with Promotional Products Trends

iPROMOTEu offers business resources and administrative support to our affiliated promotional products distributors to help them achieve success as independent business owners. Our preferred vendor program makes it easy for distributorships to find trusted suppliers, so they can easily keep up with the trends and offer new promotional products as their buyer’s needs and preferences change. Our back office support also eases uncertainty in any necessary transitions made by distributorships to stay competitive in the ever-changing marketplace.

Connect with iPROMOTEu today to learn more or become an Affiliate.