2021 PROMO Trends

  • Nov 26, 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, we thought we’d look back at the PROMO trends we saw this year and provide some predictions for 2022.

As expected, masks and face coverings dominated the first part of the year and popped back up in the fall but there’s been a lot of fun PROMO trends that have emerged this year!

 

First and foremost – 2021 has been the year of the Patch. Hats continue to be the top PROMO seller in our area and up until 2021, embroidery was the most popular decoration option. But in 2021, patched hats became the new trend.  Many customers started with a small order of leather patched hats at the start of the year and then they couldn't get enough of them!

As the year progressed, we started seeing more patches on bags and apparel and with toque season in full swing, patches are becoming a popular option.  Patches tend to give items a classic finish, with a higher perceived value.  With a lot more colour, texture and material options being introduced every day, we expect to see this trend continue and grow.

 

Drinkware remains one of the top categories of PROMO and we've seen some definite shifts in customer preferences over the last couple of years.

For cold beverages, sales used to be predominantly plastic because they were cost effective but we now see more customers moving to stainless steel and glass options. Not only do they offer better thermal performance to keep those drinks cold but they are also nicer to drink from and last longer.  We're also seeing more sustainable plastic alternatives like wheat straw, cork and the use of other recycled materials.

For hot beverages, Contigo® used to be the most popular with sleek styles and leak proof lids but customer preferences have been changing to a focus on thermal capabilities (because who doesn’t want yesterday’s coffee still piping hot), powder coating (no more fingerprints), and more rugged designs.

Customers are no longer looking at drinkware as a lower end giveaway, but are looking for higher quality products that customers will use for longer periods of time.  In a category that already had thousands of options available, suppliers are launching new and unique options every day and it has helped us all get a little more excited about drinkware!

 

Technology continues to increase in popularity and the PROMO industry has answered the call with greater access to brand names, great decoration opportunities and high-quality tech items.

With more people working from home, we started to see lots of great phone and tablet stands.  Headphones were also a popular item with everyone participating in virtual meetings.

And where, in the past, a lot of tech items were low end giveaways, we now have access to brand names and much higher quality items with great decoration capabilities to really show off your brand.

Tech will only continue to grow as a great PROMO item.  Not only does it appeal to all age groups, it's an item you know will get used frequently and having a longer lifespan, keeping your brand front of mind for your customers.

 

We have also seen an increase in everything outdoors as people went looking for entertainment and safety in large spaces.  With a return, for many, to outdoor adventures and hobbies, we had lots of requests for the old favourites like camping items, pocketknives, coolers, and rugged backpacks and duffels as well as some great new items like fishing lures and electric (re-chargeable) lighters.  

Just like in the retail world, these items sold out almost as quickly as they were introduced but it was definitely fun and exciting to see so many new PROMO items to be enjoyed in the great outdoors!

 

It has definitely been an interesting year in PROMO and we look forward to continuing to find great ways to show off your brand in 2022!  Expect to continue to see more unique branding opportunities as decoration of products becomes more sophisticated and the continuing trend towards "useful" PROMO items.  Gone are the days of the "chachkies" - low end items that are forgotten or disposed of quickly after being received, customers are spending more to provide an item that their employees and customers will have and use for years to come!


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