How has the pandemic affected the promotional products industry?

The global pandemic has resulted in a dramatic reduction of international trading activity, which has in turn affected the promotional products and many other industries. A recent survey conducted by our main industry body, the Australasian Promotional Products Association (APPA), revealed that some distributors experienced a drop in sales of up to 95% between March and May of this year, compared to the same period last year.

With imposed restrictions severely impacting events, tradeshows and the ability to hold face to face meetings with clients, occasions where promotional products play a key role, the promotional products industry has had to adapt quickly to this new and changing environment.

Both the annual state specific and the major annual Australia and NZ promotional products industry tradeshows were among the many cancelled events this year. New product lines are prepared and ordered months in advance so this could have been quite a devasting blow to our valued industry suppliers. However, APPA were quick to organise product launches via webinar, while suppliers organised short videos showcasing the functionality of their new products.

Historically, pandemics have led to pivotal changes in human behaviour. Many economists even attribute the popularization of online shopping in China and the simultaneous growth of Alibaba to the SARS pandemic in 2003. This pandemic will no doubt reinforce and expand our online presence.

Earlier this year, in the space of three months, demand for video conferencing technology saw Zoom usage increase from 10 million daily users to 300 million worldwide! While we cannot yet foresee the lasting effect, these circumstances will have on our future, it is safe to say online meetings and events are now considered “common place” and are here to stay.

Another impact of soaring online usage is that the average consumer is being overloaded with messaging. Organisations fighting to keep their brands top of mind will find this more challenging in months, and possibly years, to come. Promotional products are able to fill that void. Branded items with a corporate logo can encourage repeat business and referral work in ways that traditional advertising platforms will not be able to.

The key will be producing items that are interesting, relevant, practical and are tangible to one’s brand. Seeking the services of a professional within our industry is an essential step in supporting your business through these challenging times.

With the pandemic affecting so many businesses, take a moment to see what it has done to the promotional products industry.

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