Last week, we sent our Managing Director Scott Hulbert to Hong Kong and China for the Hong Kong Premium and Gift Fair and the 123rd Canton Fair. His mission: to gather intel about the hottest emerging trends in the promo world. He returned with some fascinating insights covering all aspects of the industry, from design trends and new products, to how the global winds of economic change are presenting exciting new opportunities for the promo industry. We’ve been teasing his findings for the past week on our Instagram page, and today, we’ll be presenting them in full.
Retail design pattern prints are all the rage, and there’s really no limit to where they’re showing up – Scott found everything from tote bags to drinkware to furniture rocking these new styles. Making a particular splash are tropical patterns adorning everything from bags to ball caps to gift boxes. The flamingos, pineapples and palm leaf motifs evoke a dreamy southern California day, like stepping into a Lana Del Rey song. There’s an incredible amount of variety, catering to any taste. One beautiful drinkware set is available in a sweeping floral print reminiscent of the Impressionists; other prints are boldly photorealistic. We’re particular fans of the edgy, graphic flamingo patterns. This is a retail trend sweeping Instagram, but it’s readily available and totally customizable to suit your needs.
Journal books are a product that can make particularly good use of this trend. Even as we continually phase out paper, there’s something about the convenience, versatility and aesthetic impression of a beautifully-designed journal book that keeps them rising in popularity. Previously on this blog, we featured a beautiful marble-print journal book. But on the trade show floors, Scott encountered a menagerie of journal books in every colour, print and material imaginable.
We’re super excited to discover how our clients can invigorate their brands with these fresh, youthful options!
Once again, drinkware claims the number 1 spot as top promo product. For a couple of years it was edged out by technology products, but the pendulum has swung. Drinkware lives in that promo sweet spot where consumers can get a high-quality, high-value, long-lasting product for a very appealing price, whereas the quality and variety of tech products tends to decrease sharply as the price drops. We’re also in the midst of a global health kick as companies – and in some cases, governments – are taking action against disposable plastic water bottles in favour of longer-lasting options. And of course, we know to keep hydrated!
All this combined has caused the market to blossom with innovative new styles and shapes. Even trendy designs like the S’well style water bottles are getting high-concept updates, such as adjustments to the design for ice and ease of cleaning. We’re seeing bottles that cater to individual needs just as wine glasses complement particular vintages, including:
- Double-layered bottles that combine the purity of glass with the durability of plastic
- Natural materials such as bamboo and cork
- Interesting closures equipped with carrying rings
- Graphic textured bodies
- New types of gripping grooves
- Accordion-folding plastic
With China experiencing rising wages and increased government regulations, developing markets such as Vietnam – and some more established markets such as India – are increasingly becoming bigger players in the promo products industry. Economic forecasters are predicting some significant growth in these markets as investors seek to reduce the impact of US tariffs on China. This year, for the first time ever, the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair hosted start-ups from Indonesia and Vietnam. These big industry shifts are opening up some incredible opportunities for suppliers like us to create promo opportunities for clients that may have initially seemed out of their league. We can’t wait to see what these emerging powerhouses bring to the table!
In the past, global sourcing has come with one huge disadvantage for promo distributors: Chinese manufacturers have traditionally required very high minimums and long lead times in order to do business with Western buyers. However, as the world shrinks, overseas manufacturers are adapting to the current market demands by offering terms that are much more comparable to what one might see in the domestic market. This means we’re seeing much lower minimums and quicker lead times, which makes overseas sourcing a more realistic option for corporate promotional orders. Among Scott’s favourite deals were custom medallions, minimum 100; custom silicon powerbanks, minimum 100 including the mould; and custom lanyards, minimum 500.
Decorative light-up products are all the rage right now. Movie marquis-style letterboxes are flying off the shelves. LED technology has brought the look of neon back into the mainstream, but without the heat, the buzzing, or the wasted energy. Everything is lit!
To recap, here are the Top 5 Must-Know Insights from the World’s Biggest Tradeshows:
- Pattern prints, especially tropical patterns, are appearing on everything.
- Drinkware is exploding in innovation.
- New countries are emerging as promo powerhouses.
- Overseas manufacturers are adapting to the Western market.
- Decorative light-up products are all the rage.