Professional, Strong and International: That’s what the three letters in PSI have always stood for. But this time, Europe’s largest trade show of the promotional products industry really reinforced the meaning behind its initials.
That’s because PSI 2018 sent out the call, and even more international visitors from around the world came. Some 58 per cent of visitors travelled from outside Germany, one in seven of them from overseas. The sea of flags representing the participating nations at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre was correspondingly colourful. Almost 90 countries showed their colours in Düsseldorf, turning the trade show into the centre of the promotional products world for three days. That’s a new record. With that, PSI set the tone for a dynamic start into the new business year. In total, organiser Reed Exhibitions Deutschland counted 925 exhibitors from 37 countries (prior year: 988) and 17,342 visitors (prior year: 18,094); among them were 1,200 industry customers, who, upon being invited by a distributor, had an opportunity to attend PSI on the last day of the event. With those results, PSI seamlessly built upon last year’s record-setting figures.
“Digital only” – that was yesterday. In demand today are advertising vehicles you can touch. Translated into the language of advertisers, this means: consumers, especially millennials, are increasingly looking for authentic brand experiences, have fewer reservations and fears of identifying with brands, and are open to showing themselves with those brands. “We’re currently seeing something in many areas that might best be described as an analogue or haptic revolution. These days, in the age of digital reproducibility and arbitrariness, people are looking for things they can experience in tangible and multisensory ways. This is a megatrend which of course has a positive impact on the promotional products industry”, says PSI director Michael Freter at the conclusion of the three-day promotional products industry exhibition.
Industry sales in Germany top €3.5 billion for the first time
This assessment is reflected as well in the latest industry data, which traditionally is published at PSI by the GWW, the umbrella association of the German promotional products industry. That’s because the industry in Germany for the first time exceeded the magic turnover threshold of €3.5 billion (prior year: €3.47 billion). It’s a trend GWW president Frank Dangmann expects to continue: “Today, virtually every large company and 75 per cent of all medium-sized companies in Germany deploy promotional products in their customer communication.” One out of every five surveyed companies plan on investing more money in promotional products in future, he adds. The industry – especially in Germany and Europe – is expecting an extra boost from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Positive Europe-wide forecast for 2018
Growth of 5.3 per cent is forecast for the European market in 2018, according to the current PSI Industry Barometer, the survey of nearly 1,000 promotional products distributors across Europe conducted by the PSI Institute ahead of the trade show.
US market also expected to grow
And the industry’s growth trajectory will continue in the “homeland” of Facebook, Google and Co., too. The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) has estimated sales of $22.9 billion for the just-finished business year, an increase of about 3 per cent over the prior year. Ranked Number 1 among the top sellers: textiles, particularly T-shirts and caps. This, too, is a megatrend – sustainable production and a traceable supply chain. Based on his experience, says ASI president Tim Andrews, “millennials are open-minded in regards to promotional products, but they’re also picky when it comes to compliance with environmental and social standards.”
Megatrends and new products front and centre at PSI
The megatrends mentioned by Michael Freter and Tim Andrews were a defining feature of this year’s PSI, as well. “There’s an unmistakable trend towards sustainability and high-quality products”, says Michael Freter. The latest PSI Industry Barometer underscores this statement. It found that more than 90 per cent of the surveyed promotional products suppliers and distributors now have certified or verifiably sustainable products in their assortments. For more than half of the suppliers and distributors, the share of sustainable products even exceeds 30 per cent of their complete range.
Sustainable and oftentimes high-quality – those labels apply to virtually all product segments. Just look at the stationery range, which benefits as much from the renaissance of writing culture as from the combination of analogue writing instrument and digital “processing”. Or take the promotional textiles segments, which was particularly strongly represented with approximately 200 exhibitors and which embodied sustainability with special exhibits like the “Walk of Cotton” and with products that appeared in the look & feel of the retro trend represented by petticoats, Polaroids and (vinyl) records. Stylish on the outside, ultra-modern and sustainable on the inside.
Staging promotional products as lifestyle products – that’s what defines the nature of PSI. Be it on the PSI Catwalk, in the GUSTO Pavillon or with many surprising product ideas and innovations at the stands that can be seen in this form only at PSI. For example a singing bottle opener in a mini football shape that intones Word Cup fan chants during use or an umbrella that changes colour depending on the amount of rainfall, finding the good even in the saddest weather, or a drinking bottle made from silicone that can be shrunk down to pocket size when empty. All those examples drive home the point PSI director Petra Lassahn is making when she says, “Where our power to imagine the diversity of promotional products ends, the PSI Show begins.”
The next PSI Show will take place in Düsseldorf from 8 to 10 January 2019.