As the new year approaches, we decided to take a look back at the most popular promotional items in 2021. Not surprisingly, most of our customers’ favorite products this year were classic promotional items that never go out of style – useful, universally appealing, and effective – with low cost-per-impression (CPI). A few items reflect growing consumer trends. We expect most – especially those that made it into the top 10 – will continue to be bestsellers in 2022.
Metron Branding’s Top 25 Most Popular Promotional Items in 2021
Our most popular promotional items (similar items grouped together by product type – e.g. t-shirts, hats, pens).
Hand Sanitizer Spray Pen
One of our bestselling small promotional items in 2021 was the CleanZ Pen Sanitizer – the perfect compact gift for conference attendees. Available in unscented, citrus breeze or coconut.
Branded padfolios are a standard gift for conference attendees and employees. Something everyone can use but few buy for themselves, padfolios are cost-effective, attractive – a beautiful item to place your company logo on – and practical. The DuraHyde Zippered Padfolio was a customer favorite in 2021.
Cooler Backpacks ➤
According to Google Trends, cooler backpacks have steadily grown in popularity since 2017. Our bestselling KOOZIE Olympus Kooler Backpack is especially popular with our customers during the summer months. Functional and fun, backpack coolers make exceptional summer swag.
Custom Computer Backpacks
A well-constructed laptop backpack makes a stellar corporate gift for employees. The Graphite Deluxe 15″ Computer Backpack was a bestselling promotional item in 2021 – featuring a zippered main compartment with padded laptop sleeve capable of holding a 15.6 inch computer; dedicated iPad/tablet pocket; zippered pockets for power banks, cables, and pens; and a side water bottle pocket.
Branded Wireless Speakers
The Boxanne™ Wireless Speaker is a one of our bestselling tech promotional products. This pocket-sized portable wireless speaker features a built-in subwoofer and built-in microphone for on-the-go conference calls. Use the included carry strap to attach the speaker to any bike, backpack, or bag.
Custom Tote Bags ➤
Promotional bags are so ubiquitous because they garner an impressive 3,300 impressions on average throughout their lifetime and are easy to personalize with a large screen printed or embroidered logo. One of our bestselling bags in 2021 was the Big Thunder grocery tote. This durable reusable tote bag features dual reinforced handles and is available in 17 different colors.
Our Port Authority® Men’s Core Soft Shell Vest was a bestseller in 2021. Corporate vests are popular employee gifts, especially in the technology and finance industries. A business casual staple, vests are less expensive than jackets and easier to size than t-shirts.
Hard Cover Notebooks and Journals
Premium notebooks and journals make sought-after swag, especially at trade shows and conferences. The Moleskine Hard Cover Ruled Large Notebook was one of our top selling branded notebooks in 2021. This elegant Moleskine features a bound hard cover with rounded corners, bookmark, and elastic strap closure.
SPF Lip Balm
Effective promotional items don’t always have to be expensive. If you need a low-cost, high-volume giveaway for your next event, lip balm is compact and portable as well as universally appealing. Available in 23 flavors, our SPF 15 lip balm features a beeswax base and is free of oxybenzone, PABA, and gluten.
Premium Golf Balls
Branded Water Bottles ➤
Companies purchase promotional drinkware a lot – in fact, drinkware was purchased more frequently than any other type of product (besides t-shirts and reusable face coverings) in 2020, according to data from the Advertising Specialty Institute. Water bottles are a popular, inexpensive option in the promotional drinkware category. A 24 oz. transparent sports water bottle featuring a slim cylinder design and reusable straw is currently one of our most popular custom water bottles.
Custom Sticky Notes
An ideal promotional item for service businesses that want to make sure customers can find their contact information easily, sticky notes have wide appeal for a low cost. Many attendees of conferences and trade shows also love to stock up on high quality office supplies like mini sticky notes and sticky note pads. Custom Post-it® Notes in the 3″x4″ size are particularly favored by our customers.
Branded Blankets ➤
Custom blankets like the 50″ x 60″ Sherpa Blanket encompass the three most important attributes of a well-received promotional product: utility, quality, and attractiveness. Constructed from super soft and fluffy Sherpa fabric, this comfortable and durable blanket makes a great wintertime promotional gift.
Custom Insulated Tumblers
Insulated tumblers are another popular type of promotional drinkware. Favored by busy commuters, insulated tumblers help keep hot and cold drinks at the right temperature. One of our bestselling tumblers, the 20 oz. Hugo Copper Vacuum Insulated Tumbler, features durable, double-wall stainless steel vacuum construction with copper insulation; a wide opening for easy cleaning; and a push-on two piece lid with Tritan™ swivel closure.
Antimicrobial Mouse Pads
Mouse pads are tried-and-true promotional workhorses. Mouse pads offer ample space for displaying your company logo or custom design; they are also widely and heavily used products with low CPI. The Origin’L Fabric® 7.5″x8″x1/8″ Antimicrobial Mouse Pads are especially popular with our customers as they are made in the USA and include antimicrobial protection.
Custom Pint Glasses ➤
Custom pint glasses are another popular drinkware option. The SiLiPINT™ Straight Up Pint Glass, constructed from silicone material, so it won’t break, crack, chip, fade or scratch, is a customer favorite. However, our bestselling custom pint glass in 2021 was a classic 16 oz. pint glass made from sustainable and fully recyclable glass.
Branded t-shirts are consistently a top selling promotional product. That’s because promotional t-shirts have mass appeal, low CPI, and are kept by consumers for a long time. In 2021, our bestselling branded t-shirts in 2021 included the Gildan Adult Heavy Cotton T-Shirt and the Port & Company Core Blend T-Shirt – available in Men’s and Women’s sizes. Made with up to 5% recycled polyester from plastic bottles, the Core Blend T-Shirt is an example of the growing eco-friendly apparel trend.
Custom Polo Shirts
Personalized polo shirts are frequently chosen by companies who want to give their employees something nice to wear at trade shows and in the office that is a bit more business casual than a t-shirt. Our bestselling custom polo in 2021, the Nike Dri-FIT Micro Pique 2.0 Polo Shirt, is engineered from soft, stretchable micro pique fabric which features Dri-FIT moisture management technology. It’s perfect for the golf course or casual Fridays.
The growing popularity of branded sweatshirts reflects the athleisure apparel trend that dominated 2020 and 2021. Our top selling customizable sweatshirts in 2021 include the Port & Company® Men’s Core Fleece Pullover Hooded Sweatshirt and Carhartt® Midweight Hooded Sweatshirt. For those seeking a sweatshirt without hood, the Sport-Wick® Stretch 1/2-Zip Pullover Sweatshirt, is a popular choice. This pullover sweatshirt is available in both Men’s and Women’s sizes.
Custom Can Coolers
The Kolder Kaddy Neoprene and KOOZIE® Collapsible Can Kooler were our bestselling collapsible can cooler sleeves/insulators in 2021. Can coolers aka Koozies are another standard promotional product that is a great option when you need to order colorful customizable items in bulk that will prominently feature your company logo – in addition to being useful and widely appealing.
Promotional Hats and Caps ➤
Promotional headwear is another great buy. According to the ASI 2020 Global Ad Impressions Study, a logoed hat that costs $10 will have a CPI of only 3/10 of a cent, on average. Bestselling promotional hats and caps include the Pro Rib Tompkin Knit Cap with Cuff – which was knitted in the USA – and Port Authority® Snapback Trucker Cap – a trending style in 2021.
Reusable Face Masks
A trending promotional item in 2020 and 2021, reusable face masks offer a great ROI: a custom face mask with logo that costs $5 has a CPI of just over 1/10 of a cent. Our bestselling reusable face mask in 2021 was a 2-layer 100% cotton mask with integrated metal nose frame; interior filter pocket; elastic straps; and adjustable toggle. Another popular item in this category: the SimpliColor Dye Sublimation Urban Premium 3D Mask.
Few promotional items have more longevity than branded jackets. Promotional outerwear is kept longer (16 months on average) than t-shirts, hats, bags, and USB drives. Top selling jackets in 2021 include the Port Authority Core Soft Shell Jacket (available in Men’s and Women’s sizes) and The North Face Tech ¼ Zip Fleece Jacket (also available in Men’s and Women’s sizes).
Stylus Pens ➤
Promotional pens are a value buy, with a CPI of less than 1/10 of a cent. Stylus pens like the Ellipse Softy with Stylus and La Jolla Stylus Pen were the most popular pen type in 2021. Other popular styles include the Sharpie S-Gel Pen and retractable pens like the BIC® Clic Stic® Pen.
Custom Coffee Mugs
Considering the popularity of the drinkware promotional product category, we weren’t surprised to find an affordable and trendy coffee mug taking the #1 spot in our list of the most popular promotional items in 2021.
Ceramic and enamel camp mugs have been trending with consumers over the past few years. Our bestselling promotional item in 2021 was the Camper Collection Ceramic Mug – with a wide mouth, durable ceramic construction, speckled glaze, and black halo around the rim, this custom camp mug provides a great retro look that is also trending in advertising.
The Most Popular Promotional Items are Effective
While popular promotional items are usually a good choice for any type of giveaway – there are occasions when you may want to stand out in a crowd. Check out our list of 13 Unique Promotional Items for Creative Giveaways in 2021 for some extraordinary promotional product ideas.
For assistance with selecting the best promotional items for your marketing campaigns and events in 2022, contact Metron Branding for assistance or fill out the form below to get started.