Love it or hate it, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) has made its way into our day to day, and as of April 2020 established itself as a brand new promotional product category. But is custom PPE here to stay?
According to research done by ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute), Face Masks were the number one searched promotional product in November 2020. However, 1 year later they have completely fallen out of the top 10 search terms. This downturn started at the beginning of 2021, with just a slight peak in Q3 during the Delta variant spike.
Branded mask and PPE searches have continued to decrease since then, with another slight peak during the holidays and new Omicron variant. To put it in perspective, there were only 8% as many custom mask searches in November 2021 compared to its peak in July 2020. This data comes from ASI’s vast database of promo items, accessed by industry distributors, suppliers and decorators.
As 2021 came to a close, it was traditional promotional products such as custom pens and branded drinkware that prevailed as the top searched promo items. Pre-pandemic, t-shirts, drinkware and writing instruments ruled as the top-selling promotional products, so now we are seeing a shift back to those classic categories.
As we make our way through 2022, the question remains…will PPE continue to have a future in promo? Probably, but we are unlikely to see the huge numbers that shot up during 2020. A more realistic question is how much of a presence will it maintain? As long as Covid looms, we expect the searches for promotional hand sanitizers, masks, and other PPE items to eb and flow.