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Trend Tuesday: New trends in merchandise and why ‘quirky’ no longer cuts it…

By 20th February 2023March 13th, 2023Trend Tuesday

Long gone are the days of squishy stress balls and multicoloured highlighter pens (although I have a multi-highlighter from about 2015 that I still use), there is an audible shift away from all things gaudy and plastic, towards more useful and certainly more sustainable point of sale and merchandise items.

I deal with client merchandise in the OWB team and have seen the entire supply chain change in recent years due to a number of factors including Brexit and the pandemic, but I think the most important consideration for many of our clients is the need to source products with sustainable credentials.

Recent surveys* have produced some interesting reading:

Firstly, a list of the most important elements for recipients of promo items include: Useful, Unique, Colourful, Fashionable, Recyclable, A keepsake, Edible & Funny.

75% of the consumers canvassed in a 2022 supplier’s survey said their perception of a brand changed in a positive way after receiving a promotional product. This improved opinion is much stronger in particular age groups like Millennials and GenZs who are the most likely to perceive a brand in a better light after receiving a promotional product, and of course it’s important to know the demographic of your customer base and target audience and select merchandise that is relative to them.

Over half of consumers canvassed said they used promotional products in their day-to-day lives, so make your giveaway a useful item.

Recipients are more likely to write a positive review online after receiving a promotional item from a brand and this should directly increase your profile and ultimately sales figures so ensure your review platform is easily accessible for reviews to be left.

Interestingly, a huge 83% of people surveyed have worn or used a promotional item from the company they work for. It is a great way to build good morale and solidarity in your workforce.

One third of the group consider sustainability to be an important factor and feel it is also important for a product to be locally made to ensure you’re responsible in your choice of items.

I am constantly looking for sustainable products from suppliers and manufacturers who have environmental credentials, whether that is through carbon footprint offset, reduced shipping miles, ecologically and ethically sourced materials, made from recycled materials or recyclable materials and where ever possible locally made or UK made.

All our approved suppliers have signed our anti-slavery contract to ensure that our purchases are ethically sourced. Over that last 8 years at OWB I have researched and produced some fantastic promotional products but the most memorable would be a pair of branded red Y-fronts and rather small Speedo swimming trunks…. There isn’t much I can’t eventually procure for our clients now.

What type of promotional product would suit your business? If you’d like to explore some options, email

*survey content from Vistaprint 2022