The 50 best promotional products and trends to create brand loyalty in 2024

Best 50 promotional products and trends to create brand loyalty in 2024

Who doesn’t love free promotional products? There’s something undeniably fun about receiving an impromptu gift, whether it’s as simple as a fridge magnet or as tasty as a box of sweets. Promotional products are a great tool for small business owners who want to boost their brand recognition and drive customer loyalty. And you get the added benefit of showing off the small business you’re so proud of—there’s nothing better than seeing someone wear your logo on a T-shirt, right? 

But how do you know what promotional products your audience will actually like? How do you choose between products as varied as a USB stick or even an umbrella?

To help you pick merch that leaves a lasting impression, VistaPrint polled 2,000 consumers in the United States. We asked them how they view promotional products, where they’ve received the best promo items from, and which items they’d love to get from brands in 2024. 

top promotional items infographic

Tip: Want to spread the word about your business? We offer a wide range of promo items to help you boost your branding.

Promotional product trends for 2024

1. A majority of people love getting promotional products—and actually use them: Worried you might be giving away a bunch of stuff that nobody wants? It turns out that a lot of people really do like free swag, especially from small businesses. They also agree that it helps them get to know a brand. 

  •   61% agree that promo products help build brand awareness
  •   58% say they love getting promo products
  •   54% say they regularly use promo products in their day-to-day life 
  •   44% say they prefer to get products from an unknown brand or small business 
best promotional products infographic vistaprint

2. People like stuff they can use every day, but they don’t mind a bit of flair, either: The consumers we surveyed do want the basics—pens, T-shirts, mugs and tote bags. When asked about their ideal products, most consumers want them to be “useful” (53%). But 42% also said they like their swag to be “unique.” How about branded lip balm, for example? 

3. Getting swag can change how consumers feel about a brand: Promotional products do their job, according to our research; they make people remember and feel more positive about a brand. 

  • 66% say they’re more likely to view a brand positively after getting swag
  • 49% are more likely to remember the brand
  • 43% are more likely to recommend the brand to others

4. Get creative with your design: You’d be forgiven for thinking most people want products that play it safe. Our survey actually shows that people love a brand design that stands out. The majority of people prefer promotional products with eye-catching design (49%), followed by a unique/unusual design, such as an illustration or graphic (47%).

best promotional items infographic vistaprint

Tip: Pick up any of these promotional products for your brand over at VistaPrint. It’s fast and easy to create custom swag for your business. 

Top 50 best promotional items to give away

When we asked 2,000 American consumers what items they prefer to receive from brands, pens came out on top, followed by T-shirts, mugs and tote bags. Here are the top 50 products for marketing in order of popularity:

Top 50 promotional products U.S. customers want to receive

1. Pens

2. T-shirts

3. Mugs

4. Tote bags

5. Umbrellas

6. Water bottles

7. Flashlight

8. Calendars

9. USB chargers

10. Blankets or throws

11. Hoodies

12. Travel coffee cups

13. Headphones        

14. Caps

15. USB sticks        

16. Socks  

17. Car air fresheners        

18. Sweets        

19. Laptop or tablet cases

20. Hand sanitizers       

21. First aid kit       

22. Mousepads

23. Fridge magnets

24. Chocolate bars

25. Backpacks

26. Baked goods

27. Portable speakers

28. Phone covers

29. Bottle openers

30. Sunglasses

31. Tea towels or dish towels

32. Drinking glasses

33. Keyrings

34. Tape measure        

35. Coasters      

36. Glasses case

37. Photo frames

38. Stress balls

39. Packet of plant seeds

40. Laptop stickers   

41. DIY tools

42. Bookmarks

43. Lunchbox        

44. Drink koozie

45. Face masks (PPE)

46. Sweat bands

47. Car stickers

48. Beanie hats

49. Pop socket

50. Bicycle reflectors

1. Pens: If you’re stumped, stick with a classic. Pens are easy to pocket and likely to get regular use. It’s worth noting, though, that they’re more popular with older Americans (63%) than Gen Z (36%).  

writing pen sets on a table flat lay

2. T-shirts: If you’ve ever seen a crowd go wild over a T-shirt cannon at a sports game, you know that free shirts are a staple swag item. T-shirts topped our list of popular promotional products in 2022, and they’re still a big option in 2024. Bonus: if people wear your logo on their shirt, they’re doing some marketing work for you! 

a clothing rack with hanging t shirts with custom designs

3. Mugs: So many people start their day with a mug—filled with their morning beverage of choice—it makes sense that they’d like to get a free one.  

4. Tote bags: Like T-shirts, totes are a great way to encourage brand awareness because they’ll be on display for potential customers. And they’re a popular alternative to plastic grocery bags. 

tote bangs having on a wall

5. Umbrella: Umbrellas might seem like an unexpected product for the top ten, but about 30% of our respondents say they’d like to get one from a brand. 

6. Water bottles: If you’ve noticed how many people carry water around all day (or maybe caught wind of the “emotional support water bottle” trend), you’ll know that plastic bottles are way, way out while stylish, reusable water bottles are in. Give your customers the gift of hydration and a branded item they’ll take everywhere. 

personalized water bottles with a custom design on a shelf

7. Flashlight: Shine a light on your brand (sorry, we had to…) with a promotional flashlight, which are especially popular with consumers over 55 (48%). 

8. Calendar: Calendars often take prominent positions in peoples’ homes and offices, which means potential customers could be exposed to your brand every day if they have a nice calendar to hang on their wall or leave on their desk. 

calendars on a desk

9. USB charger: Imagine a potential customer is late to a meeting or lost in a new city, and they desperately need to use their phone, only to make the horrific realization that—GASP!—their battery is almost dead. Want your brand to be a hero to people in their hour of need? Gift them a handy USB charger. 

10. Blankets or throws: Rounding out the top 10 promo products are blankets and throws. This cozy, luxurious product is often the star of a swag bag. They also work well for corporate getaways and conferences, where people are staying in hotels or flying regularly. 

11. Hoodies: The cold-weather alternative to T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts serve as a wearable billboard for your brand. 

hoodies on a clothing rack

12. Travel coffee cups: Build brand recognition with every warm sip. Travel coffee cups are practical, durable promo items for people to take with them on a commute or a camping trip. 

13. Headphones: Who wouldn’t want a free pair of headphones? Branded headphones and ear buds are a nice way to remind people of your brand while they’re listening to their favorite music tracks or podcasts. 

14. Cap: Though a little more popular (32%) with men than women (23%), caps and hats are a nice addition to any selection of promotional apparel. 

15. USB stick: USB sticks are a handy tool for work or personal use. They also suit the corporate environment, making them some of the best promotional items to give away at trade shows or business conferences. 

water bottles and usb sticks on a table

16. Socks: When you’re a kid, they may make disappointing gifts, but adults seem to love getting socks. Unsurprisingly, they’re least popular with 18- to 24-year-olds. Though about 42% of 55- to 64-year-olds would like to receive socks from a brand. Because they feel more intimate and personal than a typical promo item, they suit health, wellness or luxury brands.

17. Car air freshener: Put a new spin on generic car air fresheners by choosing a shape or aroma that’s unique to your brand, like a sweet-smelling air freshener for a bakery or a dog-shaped air freshener for a pet grooming business.

18. Sweets: Satisfy your target customer’s sweet tooth with candy that’s wrapped in your branding or stamped right onto the candy itself. 

19. Laptop or tablet case: Laptop and tablet cases make for some of the best promotional products for tech-related businesses. The simple, rectangle shape of a laptop case can also work well for brands that want to showcase an interesting print or logo.

20. Hand sanitizer: The pandemic made hand sanitizer more appealing than ever. As a bonus, it’s popular with all the age groups we surveyed. 

21. First aid kit: A branded bag or container filled with first aid essentials could appeal to businesses in the health, medical, construction and maintenance industries. 

22. Mousepad: Mousepads are an item you’re likely to use but not likely to buy for yourself, which could make them an interesting promotional item for remote workers. 

personalized mouse pad

23. Fridge magnets: Fridge magnets pair really well with businesses that provide every day services, like plumbers or veterinarians, where someone might like to keep your contact details handy. 

24. Chocolate bar: Call attention to your brand in the most scrumptious way possible—a delicious chocolate bar wrapped in your logo. 

25. Backpacks: Give your customers a place to carry all their promotional goodies. They can take your branded backpack from the office to the gym, from running errands to soaking in a vacation. 

Tip: Pick up any of these promotional products for your brand over at VistaPrint. It’s fast and easy to create custom swag for your business.

26. Baked goods: Baked goods are the third-most popular edible item on our list. Cookies, brownies or cupcakes branded with your logo would be a coveted offering at any special event or conference. 

27. Portable speakers: Want your brand to be the life of the party? Portable speakers might work for your business if your brand messaging is fun, joyful and festive. 

28. Phone covers: Phone covers work well as a promotional item for your brand if you have a great logo to showcase or if creativity is part of your identity. 

custom phone case

29. Bottle openers: Bottle openers are most popular with Gen Z, with 43% of our 18- to 24-year-old respondents saying they’d like to receive one as a promotional item. 

30. Sunglasses: Got a travel, tourism, outdoor, sports or safety business to promote? Sunglasses are a nice addition to your brand’s swag bag. You can also use them at conferences in sunny locations. 

31. Tea towel or dish towel: Another item where you might want to showcase an eye-catching logo design or branding are tea towels. Notably they’re much more popular in the southwestern US (34%) than the western and midwestern US (16%).

32. Drinking glasses e.g. pint glass, shot glass: Let potential customers know that your small business likes to have a good time with a branded pint glass or shot glass. Though this probably wouldn’t suit more corporate brands, it would be great for some food service companies or for local breweries. 

personalized drinking glasses

33. Keyring: Keyrings have broad demographic appeal (most people need one), and they’re typically used every day. You can also give away branded keyrings that double with other promotional products, such as flashlights or USB sticks. 

34. Tape measure: Consider branded tape measures if your target customer is likely to want one, say, if you’re a skilled trade or construction company. 

35. Coasters: Coasters are a convenient resting place for someone’s beverage and a simple, lightweight way to display your logo. It’s worth noting that they’re more popular with 55- to 64-year-olds (28%) than they are with Gen Z (11%). 

36. Glasses case: Your audience might need somewhere to keep those sunglasses you put in the swag bag! Most branded glasses cases come as a fabric pouch. Like sunglasses, they’re a useful item that’s small and easy-to-transport. 

37. Photo frame: Want your employees or customers to remember a special event? Gift them an event or achievement-specific photo frame. 

photo frame on a wall

38. Stress ball: Stress balls are designed to relieve tension, which promotes relaxation and aligns with a brand’s message of health and well-being. 

39. Packet of plant seeds: Strengthen your business’ environmental presence and promote your sustainable brand identity with a branded packet of plant seeds. 

40. Laptop sticker: Gen Z and Millennial consumers are much more likely to be receptive to laptop stickers (29% and 24% respectively) than older consumers. Only 10% of people over 64 said they would like to receive one as a promotional item. 

41. DIY tools: From tape measures to multi-tool pens, DIY-related promotional products would suit businesses in the construction, industrial or engineering sectors. 

42. Bookmarks: Show off a great logo with a branded bookmark, which is easy to hand out to consumers. They may be especially appealing to people at book-related events, intellectual associations or any businesses associated with leisure. 

43. Lunchbox: Send consumers off with a daily, lunchtime reminder of your brand. Lunchboxes suit office workers or anyone who might like a packed lunch, from teachers to office workers. 

44. Drink koozie: Like shot glasses and sunglasses, drink koozies—which keep cold beverages cool in warm weather—will help associate your brand with a good time. 

45. Face masks (PPE): Compared to 2022’s survey, the popularity of face masks increased among Millennial survey respondents (23% said they’d like to receive one) but dropped among respondents above 64 (12%). 

46. Sweat bands: Keep your audience cool while they break a sweat. Branded sweat bands might suit brands in the fitness, sports and outdoor industries. 

47. Car sticker: Turn red lights and parking lots into marketing opportunities with car stickers, which are most popular with Gen Z consumers (29%). 

48. Beanie hat: Promote your brand in colder weather with branded beanies.

baenie hats on a flat surface

49. Pop socket: Pop sockets, which are most popular with survey respondents age 45 to 54, help you grip your mobile phone. 

50. Bicycle reflectors: Though bicycle reflectors are the least popular promotional item on our list, plenty of young respondents say they’d like to receive them. The rate was highest with 25- to 34-year-olds.

best promotional items infographic 2024 vistaprint

Promotional swag you know your customers will love 

Though it always helps to know the promotional products that are most popular with American consumers, remember that you know your brand best: Always choose items that align with your message and the overall *vibe* of your business (you might not want to give away plastic products if you value sustainability, for example!). 

We hope our research and top promotional items list have helped you prioritize your own choices of products and inspired you to think about new ways to spread the word about your brand.