With 2019 nearing an end, we reflect on what the biggest promotional trends were from the last decade. There have been many a trend pass through, some short-lived and some ever-growing – here are the ones our industry think have the most significant development and impact.

E-Commerce & On-Demand Technology

The ‘need it now’ mentality and changing buyer habits spurred on a boom of promo online shopping platforms, allowing branded merch to infiltrate the mass market. Big brands jumped on the swag wagon – be it seasonal or limited-edition viral swag, we also saw social media influencers, politicians and sports teams harness the power of ‘moment merch’. A simple accessory like a branded cap can become a battle cry for supporters or a symbol of allegiance to a political party, social movements or cause related campaigns. 

Retail Trends

Influential brands like the NorthFace, Nike, Contigo and Herschel introduced retail-inspired lines to their offerings. The divide between retail and promo has hugely reduced, raising the bar of better design and finished quality.


Concerns about environmental impact have echoed through the industry for years, brought about by buyers’ expectations for supply chain transparency and provenance of their products. Social media has driven heightened awareness to this concern and the industry has followed with innovation that promotes sustainability and reusability. High-end drinkware and power banks were the rising stars in the quest for functional, multi-use products. The ban on single-use plastic in some states saw reusable straws named as 2019 promo item of the year.   

Strategic Partnerships

In order to compete against e-commerce giants like Amazon with their same-day shipping services, promotional companies had to keep up the pace in order to keep client business. Buying groups and larger distributor networks offering technical support gave rise out this need. The result? Better consolidated services and private equity investment will see the key players in the promo industry continue to thrive into the next decade. 

What are the predicted trends for 2020 and beyond? Find out soon!