So you’ve already kicked off 2020 in style, but do you know what emerging trends have begun making a name for themselves in the new year? We’ve kept our finger on the pulse and pinpointed trends and themes we’ve seen so far in the promotional sphere. Here’s what you can expect customers and prospects to be seeking in 2020! 

Social Responsibility 

We’ve increasingly seen that customers want products with deeper meaning and that make a difference. Luckily, there are endless ways to be socially responsible with the products you choose, and new ways are emerging all the time. Whether it’s apparel made with environmentally sustainable materials, or products that give a percentage back to charity, clients are sure to be drawn to options that make it easy for them to feel socially responsible. 

Eco-friendly products are trending everywhere, and technological advancements in materials have made way for new product developments. We’re seeing many more options for items made with bamboo – a more sustainable material because it grows incredibly fast, yielding 20 times more timber than trees in the same area. This brandable bamboo cutting board is a sustainable choice made with this fast-growing plant, and it’s certified recycled. 

Another newly popular material is wheat plastic. Manufacturers mix pulp from wheat stalks into the plastic in order to reduce plastic usage. Reducing plastic is an eco-friendly mission but it’s important to note these products lose that edge if wheat plastic is used in place of metal or ceramic, so choose mindfully. Regardless, it’s a very affordable option. Try it out with a wheat utensil lunch set including a box, fork, and knife made from this modern material option. 

Other products are friendly to the Earth by replacing disposable options, like reusable water bottles instead of pre-filled plastic disposable ones. The reusable straw will also continue to be a big seller in 2020. 

High Quality 

A major growing trend in the promo sphere is retail-quality and retail-inspired goods. When products look like the most popular retail items on the market – or even better, are made by the same brands – end-users place more value on them. One example like this is the Puma Rotation ¼ Zip Pullover made with high-tech moisture-wicking jersey material. It embodies street-to-office wear and has the bonus of a name brand. 

A way to take your notebook promos to the next level in quality is with SmartPicx from JournalBooks. It allows you to add a specialized image to a cover or inner page that has embedded digital watermarks – users simply scan the image with their smartphone for instant access to specific web content. Marrying tech and print, this is a memorable way to make an impact on end users. 

Memorable Experiences 

Clients want to get remembered by end users, and an awesome product isn’t the only way to do it. A growing trend is creative marketing to evoke customer feelings from the experience of receiving, opening, or “unboxing” the product. This means it makes an impact from the moment the package is in their hands. 

Another way to incorporate memorable experiences is with products that provide an experience for the end user to partake in. Try this out with a “plant-able” product: the Chamomile seed matchbook is a seed packet enclosed in a decorated matchbook-style case with growing instructions. Recipients get to plant their own garden of Chamomile flowers – now that’s an experience to remember! 

Other Product Trends 

In apparel, keep an eye out for stretchy fabrics that look as good as they feel. Hip urban backpacks are also a big trend in the bag sphere. Technology accessories will continue to be a staple, too: wireless earbuds and fast charger packs will be popular for the foreseeable future. The Bamboo Desktop Wireless Charger is a good choice: it has a sleek, natural look and even a built-in phone stand! Also be on the lookout for cool new tech like phone cases that incorporate earbuds. And apparel meets technology in the trend of clothes and wearable accessories that include health monitoring tools and tracker apps. 

Another awesome tech product to try is the Habitat In/Outdoor Weather StationThis gadget tells you everything from indoor humidity levels to outdoor barometric pressure trends. It also includes a moon phase/tide indicator, temperature and weather information, and even has a built-in alarm clock!  

Sequins that flip to change colors are a cool trend that emerged in recent years and will continue to be popular in the new year. The fun Koozie® Sequin Can Kooler is a perfect example – eye-catching and affordable!  

If you’re looking for function, look no further than the Rechargeable Focal 3W COB Worklight. It clips to a belt loop or sticks to metal with a magnet on the end, and the slim design provides a comfortable grip so users can also carry it as a flashlight. 


If it isn’t already, make sure branding is a part of your 2020 business plan. A picture says a thousand words, and your brand image says even more. Do more than just “being” a brand – show your clients who you are with the most impactful elements of your business like your mission, logo, social media presence, and language you use in marketing. 

As a distributor, our goals must align with our client’s vision. Remember with these 2020 trends that it’s still all about how you integrate these elements into one strong campaign. Gift an eco-friendly product with packaging that provides an exciting unboxing experience. Try a high quality, retail item that has a charitable giveback percentage. Keep your sights set on the trends and your mindset aligned with your clients’ goals, and you’re sure to have a successful 2020!