Choosing holiday gifts in 2021 is going to feel a little different than in previous years, thanks to COVID-19’s continuing effects on the promotional products industry, including manufacturing and shipping bottlenecks.
Prevue recently spoke with Dale Denham, President and CEO of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) to find out what’s trending for corporate holiday gifts in 2021 — and how to ensure your orders get in on time.
Prevue: What do you see trending for holiday gifts for speakers, top customers and other VIPs for the upcoming holiday season? Will any of these be difficult to come by?
Denham: VIP gifts are extremely limited this year due to the rising costs of the raw materials and the significant increase in demand for high-end gifts as a way to engage important customers as well as staff. We are seeing a high demand for alcohol-related VIP gifts such as bourbon and wine sets, and food gifts also are very popular this year. Also in increasingly high demand are high-end travel bags, as well as executive-style backpacks. Tech items including portable battery chargers and even Bluetooth headphones remain a favorite for executives, as well as high-end coolers.
Prevue: How should planners balance the need to promote their organization with the need to keep the product something that VIPs will want to use?
Denham: In many promotional branding items, you want the logo to dominate, but that is not usually the case with VIP gifts. It is always important to use tasteful branding on any corporate gift or promotional product — and careful branding is even more important for high-end VIP gifts. With executive gifts, less is more when it comes to logo size and colors so that branding remains visible but without calling significant attention to the logo.
Prevue: Are there other gifting trends planners should be thinking about?
Denham: One of the trends that picked up significantly last year was “kitting” of multiple gifts together into a single branded package. The value of the unboxing became a significant factor in VIP gifting last year such that the receiving the package became a part of the experience.
Packaging and kitting add cost and complexity to the order but creates a higher end experience that is remembered for many years. Even if there is only one gift in the package, high-end packaging is trending with VIP gifts.
Prevue: When would you suggest planners order their holiday gifts?
Denham: While traditionally inventory has not been an issue, that’s not the case right now. Some vendors are already out of inventory and won’t be able to replenish it until second quarter next year. Even if they have inventory today, they could get in a big order and it will be gone tomorrow. This was true last year too. Blankets were a popular gift in 2020 and a lot of vendors had deep inventory, but by mid-November, they were gone. If you don’t order now — by the end of October at the latest — there’s a chance you may not get what you want.