What 2016 Holds For The Promotional Extras That Garnish Your Life

Accessories such as caps, headbands, neckwear, footwear and aprons are some of the items that help make up the wearables category, the largest selling category in the promotional products industry at nearly 31 percent of total sales, according to PPAI’s 2014 Estimate of Distributor Sales. Bags came in fourth in that report, at 7.45 percent of total distributor sales. So at nearly 40 percent of the total promotional products market, wearable accessories and bags are a popular promotional investment.

When you’re recommending accessories to your clients, it helps to know what’s trending in the market. Trends to be aware of in 2016 include products that are made in the U.S. and products that are eco-friendly and manufactured by socially conscious companies.

“Made in the USA always sees a surge in sales in presidential election years,” says David Bronson, Unionwear (UPIC: MADEINUS) director of national accounts. He believes that in 2016 over a billion dollars could be spent on branded merchandise promoting candidates who do not want to be associated with ‘Made in China.’

“Buying goods made in the U.S. means that the workers who produce the goods benefit from the same labor and social compliance standards as the consumer who buys them,” Bronson adds. Unionwear is committed to product responsibility; every Unionwear product is both union-made and American-made, he says.

Another bonus of using products made in the U.S. is that they don’t have to be shipped from overseas, and many are less harmful to the environment. Eco-friendly companies, such as those that offer upcycled products are becoming more popular in the industry, partly because of the Millennial effect. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials took over as the largest generation of the U.S. labor force in 2015 and they now comprise 46 percent of B2B buyers. Buying from companies that give back to society (such as by saving landfill space through upcycling and recycling) is important to 75 percent of Millennials.

Jamie Allen, marketing director for Head To Toe (UPIC: HTTH0002), says, “We have calls daily asking about our recycled products. With so much awareness in our world today about recycling products, more and more people are in search of products that are sustainable.” For example, products made from recycled plastic bottles (RPET), are becoming more prevalent in the industry.

“With today’s technology, using RPET in apparel is more affordable and available to everyone. HTT continues to grow with RPET products,” Allen adds.