Top 10 Trends in Branded Merch

Staying informed of trends in the ever-changing world of branded merch can be daunting. But it's our job and we love it! We've pulled together the top 2020 trends our merchandising experts are seeing in 2020. We aren't talking about hot today, not tomorrow products, but about true trends that you can expect to last.



1. Stress Relief

2020 has been full of challenges. Between processing the myriad of emotions regarding the unhealthy status of civil rights in our country, following proper protocol for social distancing, helping kids with homeschooling and figuring out their "new" summer plans, and coping with financial concerns caused by the COVID-19 crisis, it's no wonder we're feeling more stressed and anxious than usual.  Stress Relievers are a handy tool to help customers and employees relieve frustrations and restore a little calm to their chaotic schedules! See a few of our favorites.



2. Outdoor Adventures

While gas is cheap and the roads are emptier than normal, some people are taking advantage of the time to commune with nature. Getting out of town to camp and hike in remote places away from other humans has its appeal. This can be a fun way you can support your adventurous clients or employees. Invest in ROX (return on experience) products that will tie your brand to a favorite adventure. For example, a Bluetooth lantern could be a great way to encourage outdoor exercise and literally promote your brand to the top of a mountain! Explore some of our top outdoor adventure options.


3. Remote Office

For many of us, WFH (Working from Home) transitioned from a novelty to an essential norm. And while many businesses are starting to open back up, the WFH trend is here to stay. Supporting your staff is critical during times like these. Ensuring they have the proper equipment to be as productive as possible is a priority. Practical and useful gifts include earbuds with a quality mic so you can hear them over their kids playing or dogs barking in the background, as well as webcam covers to prevent epic Zoom fails. Browse through our top picks for WFH gear that will give your remote staff a much-needed boost.



4. Back-To-Work Kits

As states open back up for business, Back-To-Work kits have been a huge trend.  Companies are looking for ways to welcome back their workforce into the office. Reopening typically requires that return to work procedures be in place.  A great way to welcome them back and help ensure a safe environment is with a kit filled with a protective gear.  The most common items include masks, sanitizers, stress relievers, and branded apparel. These serve a dual purpose as both a safety precaution and a  thank you for their dedication during this challenging time. For non-PPE items, generate ideas by reading our Back-To-Work blog.



5. Protective Gear

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, like grocery stores and pharmacies, where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Now in some cities, you’re not allowed to enter public buildings or retail stores without a mask. Provide your employees or clients with protective items like masks or bandannas to keep them safe. Consider masks for more than just the workplace setting. Provide an extra face covering for when they’re running personal errands and consider offering coverings for family members on their health plans, too. Your thoughtfulness will be noticed and appreciated. Flip through our PPE Look Book.



6. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been on an upward rise as education institutions, factories, and even national parks, find creative ways to give tours.  In addition, this tool is playing a new role as HR is searching for efficient new ways to train remote staff. The possibilities are truly endless!  Shop our favorites here.



7. Calendars and Planners

With so many unknowns in today's world, many people are finding solace in planning.  Rescheduling those dental cleanings, haircuts, and other canceled appointments give us a sense of control that we're all craving.  Calendars, planners, and clocks are some of the most popular branded products because they are useful, inexpensive, and receive innumerable impressions on a daily basis. Brand these everyday essentials to stay top of mind with your customers all year long. Order your calendars in June to receive an early bird discount.



8. GiveBack Programs

Now, maybe more than ever, people are looking for ways to help make a difference. To make our world a better place. Brands that give back to unique communities and charities are in high demand. Explore three of our favorite collections to play your part in doing good. Plus, another bonus of doing business with QRG is that a percentage of all of our sales through Reciprocity Road manufacturers is donated to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. If you don't see what you're after, as your sales representative as there are several other specific programs.

 EcoSmart - One percent of all EcoSmart sales are donated to environmental nonprofits. You're getting a sustainable product and helping the planet. Good for your brand, better for the planet. Check out our EcoSmart flipbook.

 MiiR - MiiR designs and offers intuitively functional and sleek products that giveback. MiiR pioneered the Product to Project movement, a business model where every product sold funds trackable giving projects. Customers register Give Codes to connect with a project and community. 

 Basecamp - Basecamp has committed to donating $100K in 2020 to support the Wounded Warrior Project's mission to honor and empower wounded warriors.


Playing Games

9. Playing Games

Games have taken on an ever-increasing role in our lives as we've sheltered at home and socially distanced.  Whether we're playing them with our family or close friends (in socially responsible ways, of course), we're looking for entertainment, comradery, and good old fashion fun. Smart brands realize that they can become a part of positive and memorable experiences with game gifts.  Search some of our favorites.    



10. Recognition

When we're facing challenges, leaders tend to emerge. Give a gift of appreciation to someone who went above and beyond. Be it an employee, supplier, or another partner, a meaningful and well thought out gift goes a long way in recognition. And one of the best ways to make it really impactful is through personalization. It's the difference between, here's a gift, and here's YOUR gift. Reach out to your QRG Account Executive our call one of our merchandise experts at 800.999.3468 for a free recognition consultation.

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