Promotional Products: a 25.8 billion dollar industry



If you're still not sure promotional products “fit” into your marketing strategy, check this out:


Promotional Products distributor sales reached $25.8 billion in 2022


Preliminary sale numbers were announced last month at the PPAI Expo (Promotional Products Association International) in Las Vegas, but ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) research now confirms those stats. This number of $25.8 billion ties the promo products industry’s all-time record high, which was set in the last pre-COVID year of 2019. This summed up to an 11.4% sale increase for promos year over year. So looking at the promotional products industry as a whole, it only took 2 years for distributors to recover from the loss of sales due to the pandemic - a pretty amazing feat!



There were a few factors contributing to the overall success. Supply chain issues that plagued both suppliers and distributors during the pandemic were being overcome. This included shipping delays, workforce shortages, low inventory levels and long production times. Last year, we saw a positive shift in these challenges with less delays, more inventory, more USA Made inventory, and production times returning back to normal. Of course inflation also played a factor in helping to move sales numbers up as well - price increases were felt across the board from suppliers to distributors to the end users. Also contributing to the rise of promotional product sales was the return of in-person events.


The Effectiveness of Promotional Products

Promotional products have been making such a come back, because they ARE an effective advertising tool for businesses. The research has shown, plainly stated: Promotional Products Work.

Whether you call it swag, branded merchandise or a promotional product, there should be no mistaking the facts, promo products incentivize and influence people to take action! It is a vital part of any comprehensive marketing or communications campaign, reminding the recipient to take that desired action.

Promotional products increase brand awareness, making them an effective marketing strategy. You don't have to take our word for it - Here are some statistics put together by PPAI (a non-profit trade association):

  • Promotional products are the most highly viewed form of advertising among consumers.
  • 76% of people recall the name of a brand on a promotional item.
  • Offering promotional merchandise within a bundle at checkout, as a gift with purchase, sells more of the product than if it were discounted alone.
  • American businesses spend $20 billion each year on promotional products. The world’s biggest companies use these tools to build customer loyalty, spread their advertising messages and more. They use them to connect with customers, tell the brand’s unique stories, say thank you and motivate specific actions, all while increasing the brand’s awareness, recognition and equity.


PPAI conducts consumer studies to provide an inside look at how people engage with promotional products, what they think about them, and why they work as an advertising medium. In PPAI’s 2021 Consumer Study Report, 94% of participants said they like receiving promotional products. Promotional products also make experiences more enjoyable, according to 83% of participants. Additionally, three out of four participants said they would likely switch brands if they received a promotional product from a brand they hadn’t done business with previously.

Not only are these branded items effective at influencing the people who receive them, but they can expand your reach to others you may not have considered. As 63% of participants in the consumer study said, they’ve passed along a promotional product they received to someone else, making them a great referral tool! You can download these stats and more in the one page handout below:

Looking Ahead to 2023 and Beyond

The confidence and enthusiasm within the promotional products industry is certainly rising high. According to additional research done by ASI: By the end of 2022, distributors reported optimism not seen since COVID-19 shutdowns began, with the Counselor Confidence Index measuring distributors’ financial health and business optimism rising to a pandemic-era high of 109. The index measured 112 in Q4 2019 before dropping due to the pandemic.

We expect the promotional products industry to continue to expand and grow. The increasing popularity of brand awareness and marketing campaigns, combined with the versatility and cost-effectiveness of promotional products, make them a preferred choice for businesses and organizations of all sizes. With new and innovative products being introduced to the market regularly, the demand for promotional items is likely to remain strong. The industry's ability to adapt to changing trends and customer preferences, as well as its commitment to sustainability, also bodes well for its future growth. As companies continue to seek out ways to connect with their audiences, the promotional products industry is poised to play a crucial role in shaping the future of marketing and advertising.

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