Want to know what branded merchandise will be hot in 2021? We give you our top Brandelity predictions on trends to come.
It’s been a difficult year for many companies and the promotional merchandise and events industries have suffered greatly. It seems however the tide is turning and we are adapting to our new way of life and work. The promotional merchandise industry is also picking up, as many companies re-evaluate their marketing strategies and want to invest in customer lifetime value. The pandemic has also seen the emergence of some new companies who will want to grow their business past the end of the Covid 19 measures.
Another really interesting shift we saw in 2020 was a focus on staff incentives and company community. It led to some really quirky staff merchandise orders. Branded staff merchandise is a great way to instill a sense of togetherness in a company where employees are having to work so far apart. We think this will be a trend that carries into 2021.
There’s lots to consider but here are our branded merchandise predictions for 2021.
This was something that not only were we rarely asked for pre January 2020, but we had very few suppliers who offered this. Roll forward 12 months and it’s a different ballgame. In challenging times both financially and mentally for people, many companies wanted to send their staff and clients gifts. Some were for promotional reasons; to try and win much needed business, and some were to just say thank you and stay safe. With people working from home, letterbox gifts became extremely popular. Postage was cheaper if the gift was sent as a large letter and having it fit through the letterbox meant that there was more chance the item would be successfully received. Many suppliers adapted to offer a range of “letterbox” merchandise. With people still likely to be working from home until at least Easter, I think we will see more enquiries for these items. I also think with it having been so popular, many merchandise distributors will be marketing this range heavily. In fact, it proved so popular for us around Christmas, we’re devising a whole new range of company branded letterbox gifts that can be sent to individual addresses rather than bulk shipped. Watch this space.
Staff Incentive Merchandise
As we’ve already touched on, we definitely saw a rise in companies wanting to buy branded swag for their employees. Often, this was to be delivered to their home addresses. Popular items included hoodies, caps and desktop items such as notebook and charging mats. However we did have some other more quirky items such as succulent gift sets and branded socks. We talked about one of these sets for Mighty Hive in a previous blog and it showcases exactly the type of thing companies were looking at. When the first lockdown happened in March 2020 many companies announced long term plans for flexible home working, with some declaring they were going to ditch the office altogether. Staff incentives were bought to instill community among employees and also give them some brand awareness at home. A company mug, drinks bottle or laptop bag that they would see everyday. Whilst we think the realities of constant working from home may have settled in a little and people are more willing to return to the office, I think staff merchandise will continue to be big during 2021. It may be that companies saw the positive morale benefits of gifting staff swag and decide to continue with this. It may be they want to invest in staff “welcome back to the office” packs. Whichever it is, we think staff gifting is on the up.
For many people lockdown went like this…
- Yay! I can spend the whole day in PJs, watch Netflix whilst working and then drink beer at 3pm.
- Oh lord I have to live in PJs as my actual clothes no longer fit (might be something to do with the constant snackage).
- I am determined not to become spherical and so will do Couch to 5k, take up yoga and buy a bicycle.
In May of 2020 it was almost impossible to buy a bicycle. They had sold out everywhere! Gyms were closed and many people wanted to stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically; exercise is the best way to do this. The Couch to 5k app reportedly had almost a million new downloads in spring 2020. While for some the impetus for getting fit may have been short lived, for many it may be a lifestyle change. This is why we think fitness merchandise will be popular in 2021, especially in the first half of the year when people are still health conscious following Covid19. It’s been proven that obesity had an effect with many Covid sufferers and that’s given people a real kick up the bottom. Also, many fitness companies did well during the pandemic and will be looking to invest in company merch which you would assume would be fitness related. Lastly, companies will be wanting to promote wellness among their staff and company fitness merchandise may be a fun way to do this. We’re so convinced fitness merchandise will be popular in 2021 we’re launching a whole new range of products like yoga mats and hi-vis running jackets. Keep your eye out in January!
Eco Priority Number 1…Again
Finally, we think there will be a resurgence in Eco promotional products. Covid may well have been the crocodile nearest the canoe for 2020 but our environment is the biggest! In 2019 we saw a huge rise in the number of companies questioning the source and sustainability of their merchandise. Reusable items and products made from recycled materials became very popular as the #passonplastic movement took force. Reusable bottles, coffee cups, cutlery, straws and many more products, became essential promotional items as people looked to buy merchandise that helped solve an environmental crisis.
We think as 2021 progresses, these products will make a comeback. Millennials who are more frequently entering the world or work and getting into decision making positions, are known to be more eco conscious than generations before. If they have the buying power, we’re confident CSR and environmental impact will be a factor. Also, news and media coverage is likely to refocus on climate issues once the pandemic stops dominating the headlines. The USA may well rejoin the Paris Climate agreement and Biden, soon to be arguably the most powerful man on the planet, is very eco-conscious and likely to push for some more progressive carbon reducing schemes. Global warming is an issue that will become more pressing and companies will not want to be handing out single-use plastic and useless, poorly made gifts when this is being discussed.
Our Eco range has always been very popular. You can view our bestselling eco-friendly promotional products here.