Promo University

10 of the Most Popular Promotional Products

Alyssa Mertes

Published: May 14th, 2021

Most Popular Promotional Products Every Year

  1. Personal Protection Items
  2. Stress Balls
  3. Tote Bags
  4. Pens
  5. Water Bottles
  6. Coffee Mugs
  7. Koozies
  8. T-shirts
  9. Mobile Accessories
  10. Keychains

Advertising is an essential part of any growing business, but the key is to find a strategy that works! Social media is good, and billboards work just fine, but if you really want to get customers on your side, it's all about choosing the right promotional products.

These items work wonders when they're branded with your logo and handed out for free at events like trade shows, fundraisers, grand openings, and conventions.

Make the most out of your advertising budget with the 10 most popular promotional products of all time!

Infograph This infographic shows the most popular promotional products of all time. These items are used by businesses of all sizes for trade shows, fundraisers, and as company swag.

1: Personal Protection Items

Writing Instruments

An article in the New York Post reports that 71% of people do not practice the healthiest habits in their daily lives. In a post-COVID world, that number is more alarming than ever before!

Luckily, many business owners are doing what they can to help cut down on the spread of germs. Logoed face masks, mini hand sanitizer bottles, and other self-care items like lip balm and tissue packets have been best-selling promotional items since the pandemic in 2020.

Woman in face mask

2: Stress Balls

Taco stress balls

We all have a lot to juggle every day, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. It's no wonder 75% of Americans experienced moderate to high stress levels in the past month alone. A stress ball isn't going to solve all the problems, but it's a step in the right direction.

You can order personalized stress balls that fit your business, such as taco shaped stress balls for Mexican restaurants. These toys are a squishy, fun way to promote an organization, which has kept them at the top of the promotional products list for years.

Taco stress balls

3: Tote Bags

Tote Bags

Visit a promotional products website, and you'll see hundreds of tote bags on their site. Why? It all comes down to trends and what people are expecting. Millennials are a demographic that love promotional products, and 38.68% of 18 to 29-year-olds use reusable grocery bags for their shopping. That makes these bags a no-brainer for any business owner.

Plus, tote bags are just convenient to have on hand at big events. They can be filled with a person's ID badge, paperwork, and other little goodies and handed out right at the entrance.

Tote Bags

4: Pens

Pens

Pens are some of the most popular promotional items out there for two reasons: 1) they're cheap, and 2) everyone uses them. If you hand out pens from your business, you can expect them to trade a lot of hands and be used time and time again.

And get this. A study from Psychology Today found that writing by hand connects you with the words and allows your brain to understand them better. Even in this digital world, you're doing your customers a favor by encouraging them to continue writing by hand.

Pens

5: Water Bottles

Pens

As a society, we're way more aware than we used to be about the benefits of staying hydrated. In 2017, sales of bottled water were up 7% over the previous year, beating sales of soft drinks for the first time! It's a trend that's continued ever since, making reusable water bottles must-have promo items for every business owner.

Do you need more convincing? Just scroll through Facebook photos, or walk the aisles at trendy stores like Target. Stylish water bottles are all over the place, and they only seem to be getting more popular. Your customers will love receiving one from your business!

Pens

6: Coffee Mugs

Mugs

Is there anything better than a hot cup of coffee in the morning? Americans sure seem to think so as they consume about 66 billion cups of coffee every single year. Billion!

If you're a business owner, it's important to have your finger on the pulse of what people enjoy. Custom mugs have reigned supreme as one of the top promotional products of all time, so you'll never go wrong ordering some for your clientele.

Mugs

7: Koozies

Koozies

Nothing quite says "summer fun" and "good vibes" quite like a koozie. These foam holders slip right onto your can or bottle, providing a nice barrier between the condensation and your hand.

Koozies are low-cost giveaways that are insanely useful. Case in point, a drink can be up to 20 degrees colder with a koozie wrapped around it. Your customers are probably not buying koozies for themselves, so they'll always appreciate one from your business.

Koozies

8: T-shirts

T-shirts

There's a reason why fans go ballistic in stadiums when they catch a t-shirt from the cannon. Everyone always loves a good t-shirt, especially if they can get it for free!

It should come as no surprise that millions of t-shirts are sold worldwide every year. What's more, 85% of people will recall the name of the advertiser if they receive one of their t-shirts. Restaurants, theme parks, bands, and many others love ordering custom tees as merch for their customers.

T-shirts

9: Mobile Accessories

Mobile

You don't really need a number to tell you that people spend a lot of time on their phones, but here you go! We spend an average of 3.5 to 4 hours on our phones every single day. This includes using apps, social media, and the internet.

It's important as a business owner to keep up with the times, and these times are very, very digital! PopSockets, chargers, stylus pens, and other mobile accessories will always be a big hit with the crowd.

mobile

10: Keychains

Keychains

As scary as this may sound, Americans spend roughly 84 billion hours driving every single year. That's a ton of time behind the wheel!

Good marketing is about making sure your message is where your customers will see it every day. That's why logoed keychains are such popular promo items. They attach to car keys, meaning they'll be seen every time the customer hits the road.

Keyschains

Watch this video to learn more about popular promotional items!

How Do You Make Your Promotional Products Stand Out?

You may be ordering popular promotional items, but that doesn't mean they have to be lackluster and basic! Make your items stand out by doing the following:

#1: Choose a Trendy or Novelty Look

Novelty stress balls

Your marketing products may be traditional, but they can still be unique and trendy. A glittery ceramic mug is way more dazzling than a typical diner mug. A football shaped koozie will get more yards than a foam one. And a stress ball shaped like a banana will stand out from the bunch. You get the idea.

#2: Opt for Quality

Tote Bags

Stretch your budget a little further so you can order high-quality items. A large canvas tote bag with long carrying handles is going to get more use than something small and difficult to bring around while running errands.

#3: Print a Unique Design

Blue bottle

Have some fun with your custom design! Print a cool logo on the front, or better yet, some kind of funny, cute message. Who wouldn't love a water bottle that says "Cool as a Cucumber" with a cute little Clipart image? These are the promotional items that get people talking!

#4: Pair the Items With a Clever Promotion

Pen

Okay, so maybe pens aren't the most exciting gifts in the world. But they can be if you play your cards right! For instance, order a few gold pens and hide them in a treasure chest at your trade show booth. The first person to find the gold pen wins a gift card! Brainstorm some ideas before you order your promotional items.

Above all, remember it's not about what you're ordering, but how you're using it. A little creativity will go a long way!

Why Should You Use Popular Promotional Products?

It's always a good idea to stick with tried and true promotional products. Items like t-shirts, stress balls, and water bottles are ordered often for good reason. They're guaranteed crowd-pleasers and are usually very budget-friendly.

Not to mention, your sales rep has experience working with vendors on custom items like these. This means the whole process will run like clockwork, and you'll end up with your order fast with few problems along the way!

Promotional items

Stats for Success

Stats 1 icon

The average household in the United States owns 30 promotional products.

Stats 2 icon

48% of customers would like to receive promotional products more often.

Stats 3icon

63% of customers pass along the business promotional products they no longer wish to keep.

Stats 4 icon

77% of customers believe a promotional item's usefulness is the #1 reason to keep it.

The Bottom Line

The promotional items listed above are voted "Most Popular" year after year. Pens, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and more are all sure to be winners. Make sure your promo products are trendy and unique, and you may just find yourself with an even bigger fanbase!

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a super cool Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. She's a fan of diving into the history of some of the earliest promos on the planet. If you need her, you'll find her buried in research, in the middle of a phone interview, or singing way off-tune in her office.

References

New York Post. (20219, October 23). Why the Majority of Americans Don't Have Time to Take Care of Themselves. Retrieved from, https://nypost.com/2019/10/23/why-the-majority-of-americans-dont-have-time-to-take-care-of-themselves/

Patterson, E. (2020, November 6). Stress Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from, https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/stress/related/stress-statistics/

Kunst, A. (2019, June 20). Share of Americans Who Use Reusable Grocery Bags Made From Cloth or Other Materials. Retrieved from, https://www.statista.com/statistics/228384/people-who-use-reusable-grocery-bags-made-from-cloth-or-other-materials/

Deutsch, L. (2017, October 2). Is It Better to Write By Hand or Computer? Retrieved from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/memory-catcher/201710/is-it-better-write-hand-or-computer

LeClair, C. (2020, January 13). Everyone's Resolution is to Drink More Water in 2020. Retrieved from, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/04/style/self-care/hydrate-hydrate-hydrate.html

Hamilton Beach. Infographic: Fast Facts on Coffee Consumption. Retrieved from, https://hamiltonbeach.com/facts-about-coffee-consumption-infographic

Abrams, H. (2017, December 13). 10 Interesting Facts About T-shirts. Retrieved from, https://magazine.promomarketing.com/post/10-interesting-facts-t-shirts/

Steele, L. (2020, October 2). How Much Time Do American Families Spend in Their Cars? Retrieved from, https://www.fatherly.com/gear/how-much-time-do-american-families-spend-in-their-cars//

Molla, R. (2020, January 6). Tech Companies Tried to Help Us Spend Less Time on Our Phones. It Didn't Work. Retrieved from, https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21048116/tech-companies-time-well-spent-mobile-phone-usage-data

Advertising Specialty Institute. (2020). Global Ad Impressions Study. Retrieved from, https://media.asicentral.com/resources/2020-Global-Ad-Impressions-Study.pdf

Sage Blog. (2015, April 30). 25 Insane (But True) Facts About Promotional Products. Retrieved from, https://www.sageworld.com/blog/index.php/2015/04/30/25-insane-but-true-facts-about-promotional-products/