Interesting Facts about the Promotional Products Market in 2018

Interesting Facts about the Promotional Products Market in 2018

Promotional products and giveaways to promote businesses have existed for quite a while and have come a long way. Whether you are in Decatur, Alabama or Beijing, China, promotional products play a huge role in our current global economy. And it is understandable. When people see something repeatedly, they are far more likely to associate it with something enough for long term memory to kick in. However, most people don’t know the size and scope of the influence that promotional products have on people. What is the most popular promotional product? How much money did it make for businesses? Also, just how far do they help with customer retention and memory? Now, we are going to look at 2018’s measured results for anything to do with promotional products.

Promotional products

Which Industries Use Promotional Products the Most?

First of all, as of 2017, the promotional product industry is responsible for $23.3 Billion in revenue. That is a ridiculous amount of money worldwide. The sheer size of the number must mean that a large hodgepodge of industries are spending money for something that they believe works. And the data backs it up. The promotional products industry has 40,546 companies and 489,065 globally. It is a feat that no single billionaire can possibly accomplish. So, what are the companies and industries that are buying, selling, or giving away promotional products?

While there are some industries on the list that most people could predict, there are a few surprises that made the top ten list of industries that utilize promotional products. For instance, it is easy to recall financial service companies or medical company giveaways. But how many people think to put construction companies as part of the top ten?  The basic data, according to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), states these industries as the ones that buy the most promotional products.

  • Business Services
  • Education
  • Financial
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Construction
  • Insurance
  • Technology
  • Non-Profit
  • Agriculture
©Sales Force

What Purposes do Promotional Products Serve?

While some of them make sense on paper, like colleges in the education industry giving away free pens and coffee mugs, some might wonder why the agriculture industry would even bother with giveaways. The answer to that is that not all promotional products serve the same intended purpose. There are a variety of uses of promotional products that go beyond the scope of brand recognition and awareness. Though it is one of the top ten reasons for the existence of promotional products, they can be used for other reasons. They include:

  • Brand Recognition
  • Brand/Product Awareness
  • Corporate Identity
  • Public Relations & Goodwill
  • Customer Retention & Appreciation
  • Generate Sales & Referrals
  • Employee Communications &
  • Recognition
  • New Product Introduction
  • Motivate Behaviors & Incentive
  • New Customer Acquisition

Once you understand the multiple uses of promotional products, the context becomes more clear. For instance, you are more likely to see these products in use for the agriculture industry to launch a new product or make their farm more well known to a target audience.  A non-profit might use their products to foster goodwill between potential donors or to people in need. Corporations in the business world might decide to use them to calm down disgruntled clients or in combination with a promotion. This versatility is what makes the promotional product industry as strong as it is.

 The Most Popular Products

When a company comes up with a promotional product, they usually take time and effort to come up with something that people want to keep. Because most marketers agree that customers prefer giveaways or merchandise with some utilitarian application. This is especially true with millennial and gen z consumers.  With that in mind, check out the most popular promotional products, according to category.

  • Wearables
  • Drinkware
  • Writing
  • Travel
  • Technology
  • Automotive
  • Other
  • Time
  • Desk
  • Awards

The categories are a little broad but it can paint a more clear picture of what people get more often than not. Of course, there is little surprise that wearables make the top of the list. Because clothing has the highest variation in the categories. For instance, we have shirts, jackets, accessories, socks, and all sorts of customizable fashion statements. So, it isn’t all that hard to come up with wearable promotional products. Drinkware also has a variety of materials and purposes that range from keeping things hot to just storing water for long periods of time.

From there, it gets more nichey, which decreases the utilitarian value of promotional products. After all, a goldfish owner is not going to want a promotional leash. And someone with a plastic refrigerator door will have little use for a magnet.



These are the latest trends in the promotional product economy, with attitudes and affordability driving the trends of the marketplace.  That might change with new variables in the environment or what businesses can afford in the near future.  However, it is very unlikely that this market will die down completely any time soon.


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