Promotional Product Trends for 2019

Updated: Feb 8, 2019

Each year we witness some stand out trends in the realm of promotional products. In this article we will reflect on 2018's highs and lows and predict a few of the trends we expect to see in the year to come.

When we think trends of 2018 we think: copper, succulents, succulents, succulents, llamas, canvas, the return of all things beige and bronze hardware, organic materials and simplicity. These general aesthetic trends do inform the world of promotional products but they tend to run a little deeper than surface level. What they tell us is that consumers are pickier than ever about materials, design, origins, economy and function.

Here are some predictions for 2019 based on last year's patterns and projections for what's to come.

Provide Value or get left Behind

It is no longer enough that your promotional product is free, consumers will either leave it behind, or throw it out if it doesn't provide some kind of value or use. The minimalist, less is more ethos is alive and well and it does influence consumer behaviour. We advise our clients to consider products that are useful. If you don't want your promotional piece to become clutter make function a priority. I think we can thank Marie Kondo for trash cans and thrift shops full of productional products that don't provide value.


Make it look & feel good

As we just suggested, function is important to consumers, but it's not quite enough, you have to make function look good. Pairing design & function is important to a successful promotional campaign. Place two items of equal value and purpose next to each other and the one that looks good will obviously be the winner. The good news is: good design doesn't cost you any more. The options for decoration and customization are endless these days, which doesn't help your case - but that's where we come in. Consider your audience first, and your brand second. How do you want to express yourself? Can you achieve your goals through some of the current styles? Two simple elements to consider when designing your next product campaign are colour and texture.

Bright Colours Living Coral was named 2019's colour of the year by Pantone. This bright, bold, lively colour sets a tone of energy, positivity, excitement, exuberance and we love it. Pantone's colour of the year has and will continue to influence product development and purchasing decisions for the past two decades. We expect to see big, bright pops of colour this year.

Raw Textures From soft touch pens to matte rubber boots to burlap or rough canvas totes, consumers of late love diversity in texture. Burlap came back with a vengeance in 2018, and while we don't stand behind this rustic look 100%, we are taking note of what this trend means. Burlap has an organic, raw, simple vibe that we foresee consumers continuing to enjoy and seek out into the year ahead. When you can, go with a texture that stands out from the ordinary. A fabric or material that is raw, natural, sustainable and has an "organic" look and feel to it is the way to go. Consider cork, copper, jute, leather, metal, wood grain and other beautiful materials and textures this year.


Consider Wellness Products

Feeding into the universal desire to feel and look great is nearly always a safe bet. Providing something of value that will help your audience achieve - or feel closer - to their goals is a great way to position your brand and grow your business. This bracket of products speaks to both consumers and employees. Your team will appreciate that the company they work for cares about their health and wellbeing. Likewise you can attract new consumers to learn about your brand with health-wise product. Leveraging the massive uptake of healthy living in your next promotional product campaign. Fitness trackers, water bottles, apparel, yoga matts, even ear buds can be positioned as a tool for helping recipients achieve their health and fitness goals.


Bamboo Toothbrushes instead of plastic! Sustainable products are much more desirable and responsible. Your employees and consumers will appreciate your extra effort.

Show That You Care

Consumers care and so should you. Sustainability is mainstream and we are couldn't be more pleased to see this positive trend. We as members of the promotional product industry have a responsibility to encourage responsible decisions when it comes to environmentally sound products. Not only will you feel good about supporting a company who supplies green products but your audience will feel good about purchasing or accepting gifts that were responsibly and thoughtfully crafted with care toward our planet. This rule of thumb can be applied to any of the traditional promotional products and the plethora of new options out there. There is just one more step involved - sourcing environmentally sound materials and production. A great example of a classic promo piece gone green is the bamboo toothbrush. General rule of thumb, when possible - say no to plastic.


Buying Power is Shifting

This comes as no surprise in a world of digital dominance, but we would be remiss to leave it out. Something to consider when coming up with and designing your next meaningful merchandise campaign is where the money and decision making power is. In the case of now, it is often in the hands of the Millennials and GenXers who are given ungodly amounts of credit for their "ability" to understand the ins and outs of all things cool, hip and trendy... or the purpose to Snap Chat. The point is, if you want to appeal to the brunt of consumers start with appealing to Millennials. They set the trends, they have money, they spend money and then they snap, chat, comment, like, dislike, post, favourite, follow and share it with the world. Attract the right one and you might just have a built in, free and viral ad campaign.


Throughout the year we will continue to share insights on product trends. We really appreciate when people share their own insights with us too! What do you predict for the year ahead? Did you see any surprising trends in 2018 that you think will inform 2019?

If you need help coming up with a promotional product that meets your needs while meeting the projected expectations of consumers in 2019, reach out to us. We are a crafty, creative bunch that love a good challenge. We will work with you to come up with a hyper-relevant meaningful merchandise that will help you inspire, provide value and develop your business.

Until next time!

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