Decatur, AL – I am getting a sense of déjà vu when I am both covering China and promotional products. There has already been a strong watch on the Chinese economic market, thanks to its power as a use for a political platform. Also, its sheer size and mass production practices are why we have a lot of manufactured goods on demand. However, with the coronavirus being brought to the forefront, and the ensuing panic that came after it, will affect the promotional products market as we know it. But what can we predict from this new turn of events? What can we do until the fear of this outbreak dissipates? Let’s find out.
Why is There an Issue with China and Promotional Products Before?
Whenever China’s economics are at the forefront of American consciousness in the late 2010s to this year, it is usually regarding their connection of being a global superpower during the Cold War. The current presidency and issues regarding Taiwan has brought this tension back to the forefront. However, these are only the tip of the iceberg that can’t be fully explained in one paragraph.
However, in direct contrast, we had a history of relying on them for the mass production of promotional products for decades. This combined with their large amount of resources and high population, makes them a financial superpower in their own right, or at least, a highly lucrative market. So, this has resulted in America being in constant conflict between, this strained political tension, and the economic relationships with China.
But now, the association with China and the coronavirus has done more to create a wedge between the US and China’s market relations. While there were already economic sanctions and tariffs between both parties, they limited these sanctions. Barring a few incidents based purely on politics. Ordinary people from China and the United States still could travel between one nation and another. Either to visit family, take a vacation, etc. While there was tension it didn’t put too much of a sting on the manufacturing end of goods for promotional products. It also didn’t bleed into relations between everyday people, and things like tourism.
The Presence of the Coronavirus and How it Affects the Promotional Product Marketplace
Unfortunately, though, the presence of the coronavirus is enough to deter people from going out into large groups near their own neighborhood, let alone even fathom going back and forth to China. This is also why it has put a grinding halt on the supply end of promotional products in China. Because they rely on boats and planes, as part of the shipping process. Especially if all modes of transportation are put under quarantine. That quarantine will eventually lead to long term delays on the arrival of a product.
According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, “Increased product prices, rising shipping costs, inventory shortages, prolonged supply chain disruption, health concerns, and business travel/trade show upheaval are some of the issues the North American promotional products industry is facing or could soon face because of the viral outbreak.”
But don’t just take their word for it. The stock market has already reacted to this. And it reacted badly. According to NBC, “Wall Street suffered brutal losses last Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average swinging wildly through over 1,000 points before closing down 1,190 points. It marks the worst week for the blue-chip index since the financial crisis.”
That cements just how much promotional products play a role in our current global economy.
What Can We Do about Finding a Promotional Product Supply?
So, I bet you want to get into the heart of this issue. How can we get a new supply if there is no manufacturing of promotional products abroad? Simple, go to local manufacturers. Local goods had taken a nosedive in demand over the past few decades thanks to mass production. Because China could manufacture things cheaply. This mass production combined with commercialism created a market that hand made goods couldn’t compete with.
But that could not be the case anymore. This could be a great opportunity not only for local businesses to shine but for the public to also find a new appreciation for handmade promotional products.
The tariffs combined with the lack of production would make promotional products from abroad just as expensive as something locally handmade. When you add the uniqueness factor, it would be more ideal in local areas like Decatur, AL. Because why should businesses and customers pay a high price for a cookie-cutter template? Especially when they can get something unique and better made at the same price?
So, if you want to find a positive in this mess, it is that the creation of promotional products could be back in the hands of local craftsmen and artists again.