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Promoting in the Sun

With the outdoor calling, the rise of festival culture, and the World Cup just one of the sporting events to engage this year, PM takes a look at what merchandise is hot this summer.

Summer is one of the busier periods for promotional merchandise. With companies looking to run staff events and fun days, brands promoting heavily for the holidays, and charities using the hopefully good weather to engage with the public, there’s plenty going on and plenty of opportunities for merchandise to boost proceedings.

Malcolm Stephenson, director, Impression Europe, says: “The period June to August has always been a busier quarter than earlier in the year. However, the weather is not necessarily the dominant reason for this. Admittedly we sell significant quantities of sunglasses, drinking bottles and beach balls during this period. But sales of our more perennial products such as notebooks, crayon sets, bottle openers, and ear phones remain strong.”

Extremes in summer weather conditions result in higher sales of products for use on the beach and in the sun, says Stephenson, but a wet summer can be good news too with demand for umbrellas and ponchos soaring.

The World Cup in Russia this year has also been a boon with Impression selling out of most of its football themed products, well in advance of the tournament.

Haydn Willetts, regional director UK & Ireland, Midocean Brands agrees about the football effect. “Large sporting events such as the World Cup always generate huge interest. In World Cup years we always place a few additional football related items in the collection. This year we have had to fly in extra stock to accommodate on demand some items.”

But it’s not all footie merch. Hot new items for the summer are giant inflatables, such as flamingos and unicorns. “It’s all about impressive colours and sizes,” Willetts says. “They’re also very popular in the retail environment and good fun for kids and adults alike.”

He adds in ever popular beach-related items such as beach balls, bat and ball games, flying discs, and cooler bags. Midocean has also seen an increase in sales of travel sun screen.

Although technology items continue to boom with Bluetooth speakers and earphones sales rising dramatically as the unit cost has reduced, golden oldies can benefit from some restyling and new materials, he says, pointing to reversible umbrellas and brollies with extra light features. “The market is still on the move and working on new ways to increase the communication effects of tried and tested promo items,” he adds.

Given the recent increase in awareness and press coverage of oceans plastic, one of the biggest trends in promotional merchandise is sustainability and re-usable plastics, according to SPS and PF Concept. With the warmer weather nowhere, their most popular line of products is drinkware, with a range of products available, whatever the budget.

At entry-level SPS offers the Baseline and Baseline Plus Sports Bottles. Made in the UK, these bottles are available in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes, and SPS has recently dropped prices on this range.

More and more businesses are now choosing to buy British promotional merchandise. The H2O Active range of UK-made sports bottles feature a vibrant, glossy finish with mix and match colours and a colourful fruit infuser to make the daily water a bit tastier.

Another summer trend is the turn to stainless steel bottles. PF Concept offers a range of bottles with a stainless steel outer, which are becoming increasingly popular. The classy Vasa Bottle in particular is in high demand, thanks to its sleek design and copper vacuum insulation, designed to keep drinks cold for a massive 48 hours.

PF Concept has combined two trends with the new Ace Bluetooth Audio Sports Bottle. The bottle is made from hardwearing Tritan and has an integrated Bluetooth speaker – perfect for use when out and about.

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