Recent changes and my predictions for the Merchandise Industry in 2022

Merchandise in 2022

Recent changes and my predictions for the Merchandise Industry in 2022

Merchandise in 2022

Writing this blog in early January 2022, I thought I’d look at how the world of Promotional Products and Marketing Merchandise has been impacted by the events of the last couple of years. Both Covid-19 and Brexit have had a big impact on the industry as a whole and it’s been incredible to see the changes. 

A lot of merchandise has traditionally been manufactured outside of the UK, and as such, Brexit was always going to have a big impact. The supply chain reacted quickly to minimise the impact but there have been, and will continue to be some increased costs and lead times as a result.  

The big positive out of all this is the significant increase in availability and demand for UK manufactured products. UK manufactured items such as Water Bottles are competitively priced, recyclable; many are made in zero to landfill factories. They are also really useful, making them a great product and one that’s bound to continue to be a top seller. 

Another product that’s really gaining in popularity is UK Made Wooden Products. There’s a great range of Awards, Coasters, Keyrings, Name Badges – all available with fast lead times and from a factory registered with Made in Britain. This factory also produces a really great range of high-quality wooden gifts. 

Covid-19 led to some significant changes in demand for branded merchandise

People weren’t exhibiting or running conferences and events, so demand for merchandise for these types of events ceased. Our supply chain leapt into action to adapt and one supplier created their own range of Hand Sanitisers within weeks. Made in Britain, to the WHO specification and available in a huge range of containers all of which could be branded with your business details, many of which could be refilled, made these extremely popular. I imagine these will continue to be hugely popular for the foreseeable future. Great to give to staff – especially those that can be refilled so are ideal for keeping on desks, cars, pockets, and bags! Also, a great giveaway at events and conferences when these are happening again. 

Social Media Coaching

There was also the massive trend in branded face masks early on in the pandemic, and while these are still popular, I would imagine demand for these will diminish significantly again in the not too distant future. 

As we are all aware, the last couple of years has seen a huge amount of people working from home for long periods of time and it was interesting to see the initiatives many employers introduced to ensure their teams remained actively engaged and knew they were valued. We saw a massive increase in demand for care packs that we delivered directly to employees at their homes. These were a mix of practical items – mugs, bottles, pens, notebooks and some more “fun” things. One order that stood out was a cocktail kit that included a cocktail glass, recipe kit and T-Shirt, which we sent to the client’s employees in time for them to take part in an online cocktail class the business was hosting! 

The last couple of years have also seen a big increase in individual personalisation, and I see this being an area that will continue to increase this year. Mugs, Bottles and Pens are among some of the most popular promotional items that can have a logo and an individual’s name. This is a great way of limiting the risk of spreading the virus, but also a great thing in general in busy offices, I think!

We’ve also seen a massive increase in the range of “antibac / antimicrobial” products over the last two years – this range now includes pens, notebooks, mugs, sticky notes and mousemats among others that can be manufactured using an agent that makes the products effective at eliminating 99% of harmful bacteria on touch for the lifetime of the product.  

 So my predictions for 2022 would be:

  • An increase in British Made promotional merchandise.  
  • A continued movement towards more eco-friendly and sustainable merchandise 
  • Continuation of the trend for individual personalisation
  • A continued increase in the availability and demand for antibacterial products. 
  • Reduction in demand for branded face masks
  • Increase in costs driven by the increases in raw material and transportation costs. 

I think now, more than ever, the opportunity to be creative with your marketing is key and the right branded merchandise can really help you to get your message across, whether that’s to employees, customers or prospects. It’s essential to choose promotional products that align with your brand values and create the right impression. 

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