The global promotional products industry is doing well, despite an unstable international economic climate, and is said to be growing at a pace according to Econo Times, with other industry experts seeing this upward trend continuing until at least 2024.
“The reasons for this are varied, but most likely lie in the fact that marketing, specifically in a competitive economy, is a key business priority and branded promotional products are a simple, cost-effective way to keep brands top of mind,” says Nick Sarnadas, event director at Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery.
“Through promotional products, advertising and marketing messaging life cycles can be greatly extended to long after initial exposure, Sarnadas continues. “Statistics vary per country but, on average, around 80 percent of recipients will remember the advertiser after receiving a promotional gift item and approximately 45 percent of those keeping the product for at least 12 months.”
Does this positive market growth, however, extend to South Africa, where according to Statistics South Africa, we have just narrowly dodged a recession?
SA resellers weigh in
Rainer Schulz of Thistle Promotions believes that, without supporting research on the South African promo product market, it is difficult to make a definitive statement on how the sector has fared recently.
“Over the past year, we’ve seen contrasting variances in the South African promotional goods sector - some companies have drastically cut spending, forgoing marketing investment in lieu of channeling funds into staff retention, while others have started spending on promotional goods for the very first time in an attempt to grow brand awareness and market share by channeling funds into new areas,” he says.
This sentiment is corroborated by another local promotional products reseller, namely David Kraukamp of Promo One, who explains that it has been a fairly tough year for the market, much like most other sectors in South Africa currently.
“Unfortunately, many businesses are redirecting marketing spend, as it’s often the easiest place to cut the budget,” says Kraukamp. “However, there is clearly still value in corporate gifts and promo items, particularly as we head into the festive season, as companies, in general, do still want to provide some sort of item to their customers, even if it is at a lower price point.”
Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) released 2018 global industry research which shows interesting results, adds Sarnadas, especially when it comes to the five Rs of promotional products, namely, reach, reaction, recall, resonance, and repeated exposure:
- Reach – 89 percent of consumers have received a promotional product in the last six months.
- Reaction – 79 percent of these actually researched the brand and 83 percent said they would be more likely to do business with the brand after receipt of the item.
- Recall – 90 percent of respondents recall the branding, 80 percent recall the message and 70 percent recall the call to action.
- Resonance – 82 percent recorded a more favorable impression of the brand after receiving a promotional product.
- Repeated exposure – 81 percent say they keep their product for more than a year.
“These figures reinforce the fact that even in a difficult environment, with budgets are tighter than ever and increased pressure to prove value for marketing spend, branded merchandise can be a powerful tool,” he states.
Where does local demand lie?
Schulz shares that demand in South Africa has grown for practical products with a specific everyday use, such as notebooks, caps, and shopping bags (particularly important with growing awareness around eradicating the single-use plastic bag), stating that drinkware is currently very popular but the technology side, which saw a boom several years ago (with power banks being especially popular) is on the wane. Kraukamp agrees, adding that companies are taking more of an old-school approach again, looking for products that will stay within eye-line, like desktop items and wall clocks.
“Environmentally friendly gifts are on the upward trajectory, as businesses are becoming more aware of being socially and environmentally conscious, with a focus on the likes of reusable water bottles (glass or aluminum and even BPA free plastic),” Kraukamp adds.
“The benefits inherent to promotional products are obvious, and they remain an important part of holistic marketing campaigns,” Sarnadas says. “This is a fast-paced sector, with thousands of options available, and a fairly complex value chain for the local reseller.
“It is for these reasons that Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery has introduced The Promo Product Expo, with a view to supporting the start-to-finish reselling experience; from sourcing right through to customer delivery,” he explains.
This will include each touch point within the promotional product reseller’s supplier network, incorporating branding experts, designers, financial providers, industry-specific networking organizations, logistics providers, marketing pros, packaging and printing specialists, promotional goods and apparel manufacturers and suppliers, technology vendors and distributors, wholesalers, and more.
“The Promo Product Expo 2020 will offer resellers direct access to a variety of suppliers that serve this industry, providing an opportunity to see, feel and touch current product offerings - as well as new solutions that are coming down the line – while encouraging and enabling the opportunity for visitors to meet the humans that make the magic happen for businesses who believe in branding in South Africa.”
The Promo Product Expo will run on 21 and 22 July 2020 at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. For more information on the trade show, please visit www.thepromoproductexpo.co.za. Interested in exhibiting at the expo, or becoming a partner? Please contact Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery on email@example.com.