Remember, a promotional item doesn’t have to be expensive to be valued by your customers. To be of interest to today’s discerning, eco-conscious market, promos must be seen to offer value and utility. The following hot trends will satisfy both requirements in full.

Promos are subject to trends like any other, so what items are your customers going to be clamouring for in 2019?

Health and Safety Promos

Health and safety promos are set to be a major trend in the year ahead and across all sectors, so consider investing in promo items that support a strong health and safety culture. This is especially prudent for brands looking to help reinforce a strong brand image when it comes to a healthy and safety conscious workforce, client or customer base.

For example you could design a H&S assessment guide and folder for a smaller business and provide these as a package through a direct mail campaign. This will position you as a brand that supports and invests in customers. Consider this one especially if you have a large supply chain. Other ideas include hot water bottles, water bottles and even fitness trackers.


Electronics continues to remain a growth area in promotional items and 2019 is set to be no exception. We’re now used to the sight of business people walking and talking into their phones and this trend is an easy one to support with promotional products which really don’t need to be expensive. Memory sticks are always a no brainer when it comes to long lasting promo items. Load any sticks with your presentation and business card before distributing them. Portable phone chargers and branded phone cases also work well.

These low-cost tech promos really do satisfy the ‘utility and value’ criteria and can be neatly branded with your logo and those with onboard memory can be loaded with branded information, whether it be a presentation or a podcast, ensuring that your brand messaging is reinforced through the product and what’s stored on it.

Utility Items

Think about how your audience spends the day and you can easily identify quirky, high quality promos that will help to fulfil a need. For example, branded bags of all types are always in demand and on-trend jute bags are also eco-conscious. Remember that your audience is likely to comprise plenty of millennials and Gen-Z individuals and respect their love of sustainable business and coffee alike with reusable coffee cups made from bamboo – displaying your brand of course. These are both low-cost items which can be used at trade fairs to garner plenty of interest at your stand.


This continues to be a huge growing trend in 2019 and the good news is that you can tap into it with your promos – again, without any risk of breaking the bank. For example, you could invest in LED event badges or branded earbuds; both of which are useful and fun. If you have a smaller and more targeted audience – and a bigger budget – why not consider a fitness wearable?

Digital Experiences

Experiential marketing is big news in the consumer field and you can bring this type of promotion to your next event with an AI or VR experience. You could include an immersive tech experience or pair this with a gamification challenge to get people involved, learning about your brand in the process. You can also work with event organisers to use interactive gaming and participation technologies at your event and there are various pre-made solutions on the market which are less expensive than launching your own game or immersive VR activity.

Even though we say it every year, 2019 really could be the year VR breaks through into the mainstream.

Desk Items

Many people will spend a large proportion of their day sat at a desk, especially if you work for an SEO consultancy like I do. That makes promos that liven up this space or offer practical solutions to workplace problems very popular. This means that old favourites are still very much in demand, such as post-it note pads with a range of coloured neon post-its of all sizes, and desk calendars or pads. Mini desk plants are also fun and readily available to grow from seed in compressed compost discs.

Remember too to pay special attention to the aesthetics of next year’s fashion trends and incorporate these colours and materials into your promo items. Natural materials such as wood and bamboo are in. Keep away from plastic ‘stuff’ insofar as possible and try to opt for eco friendly materials (consider jute for your promo bags for example). Colours popular in 2018 have been metallic accents through to neon brights; so keep your eyes peeled to see if this is likely to change in 2019.

About the Author: Steve Hill is Client Director at Promotional Marketing Company Wurlin and director of subsidiaries, Bag Workshop and Umbrella Workshop. You can connect with Wurlin on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.