Promotional Health and Safety Products: 2020 Review and 2021 Trends

2020 was an unprecedented year for the promotional products industry. The types of products our customers wanted the most in Q2 and Q3 differed from those purchased in years past. Using our procurement expertise, Metron Branding helped businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic obtain the much-needed PPE (personal protective equipment) – including branded face masks, disposable gloves and non-contact infrared thermometers – they needed to keep their employees and customers safe. For many businesses, obtaining branded PPE as well as other safety-related items, such as custom signage and touchless hand sanitizer dispensers, was necessary for a successful reopening after state-mandated closures.

Promotional Products Rebound in 2nd Half of 2020

Now that most businesses have obtained the essential PPE they need to remain operational throughout the pandemic, many companies have resumed purchasing promotional products meant to build brand loyalty with their customers and reward hard-working employees. Though promotional products are no longer as widely distributed at events and trade shows, businesses have increased their use of direct mailings to send bundled, branded promotional items to consumer homes as gifts; swag kits to virtual event attendees; and company merchandise to engage newly onboarded remote employees. Q3 2020 saw a notable increase in promotional product sales compared to the previous quarter. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), the easing of lockdown measures in many states may have helped improve branded product sales in the latter half of 2020. In addition, “Demand for kitted/drop shipment solutions and the continued, if in some cases tempered, sale of personal protective equipment (PPE) also helped fuel the sales rise.”

Adding Promotional Health and Safety Products to the Mix in 2021

With promotional product spending now making a comeback, many businesses have chosen to purchase branded items that address the ongoing health and safety-related needs of consumers living through a pandemic. While traditional promotional products such as apparel, pens and drinkware remain popular, we have seen a continuous increase in the purchase of health-related promotional items – such as UV phone sanitizers, face shields, no-touch tools, individual-size hand sanitizers, pens with integrated antimicrobial hand sanitizer, and PPE kits. Other “meet the moment” type promotional products that businesses have purchased in 2020 include home office tech support kits for telecommuting employees and stress-relief products such as aromatherapy candles, fidget spinners and bundled relaxation kits.

Promotional Face Masks – A Walking Billboard

One of 2020’s top promotional items – branded face masks – is likely to remain a value buy in the promotional product market for the foreseeable future. According to the recently released 2020 ASI Global Ad Impressions Study:

  • Estimated number of impressions per promotional mask is 4,235
  • “An imprinted mask that costs $5 will have a CPI of just over 1/10 of a cent.”
  • At least 31 percent of consumers come in contact with more than 50 people whenever they wear a promotional face mask.
  • Only 39 percent of consumers currently own a logoed mask.

With 34 percent of consumers reporting that they would wear a branded mask on a daily basis (and 71% reporting that they would wear a promo mask at least on a weekly basis), branded face masks are currently an excellent promotional opportunity for businesses that may also improve brand loyalty.

Show Your Brand Cares – We Can Help

In fact, according to ASI, 57 percent of consumers “would be more likely to do business with the advertiser who gave them a promo mask.” According to Michael Johnson, director of marketing for Hanes Activewear, “A mask is really reflective of how you care about your customer and staff, probably more so than any other category.” This sentiment might help explain, in part, the high correlation that ASI found between advertiser loyalty and promotional mask giving. Whether you choose custom face masks sporting your company’s logo or more traditional promotional items in 2021, Metron Branding can help you navigate consumer trends and PPE-related product safety concerns. We can answer any promotional product questions you may have – such as the best types of face masks to buy for universal fit, comfort and safety – and help you select cost-effective, high quality products to keep your employees and customers happy and healthy in the upcoming year.