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How Long Do People Keep Promotional Products?


It’s one of the first questions marketers want to know when handing out promotional products – how long is my giveaway going to stick around? In the U.S., people tend to keep promo items for almost seven months, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) Global Ad Impression Study 2013.

Promotional calendars hang around the longest at about nine months on average, while people keep custom writing instruments for the shortest amount of time, at just over five months on average.

promotional calendar

When you incorporate promotional products into your marketing, your message isn’t just seen once and forgotten. People are exposed to your brand repeatedly – for months on end.

What other form of advertising can provide this kind of continued exposure? Nothing even comes close. Technology makes it easy to avoid traditional forms of advertising. We can skip past TV and radio ads, flip past print ads, and click out of online ads. Those messages (if even noticed at all) are short-lived. Promotional products, however, are an undeniably powerful marketing medium. Why? Because of their longevity.

The average promo item is kept 6.6 months. Here’s a look at how long some of the most popular promotional products are kept, according to ASI’s research:

  • Calendars – 9 months
  • Outerwear – 7.3 months
  • Drinkware – 7.1 months
  • USB drives – 6.9 months
  • Bags – 6.8 months
  • Caps – 6 months
  • Desk/office accessories – 6 months
  • Shirts – 5.8 months
  • Health/safety items – 5.5 months

ASI’s research team and business partners interviewed businesspeople in nine metro areas around the world to gather information for the report. The results prove that promotional products aren’t throwaways. They aren’t “trinkets and trash.”

In fact, they’re just the opposite. Promotional products are long-lasting, useful ways to accomplish any number of things – get your name out there, establish goodwill, reward customer loyalty, drive sales, and so much more.

One key reason people hang on to promo items is because they find value in them. Whether it’s a trendy apparel item such as a jacket or a baseball cap, or something for the office, people like receiving items that are useful to them. When promotional products serve a purpose, they tend to stick around. And as the study shows, they stick around for the long haul.

When you want to gain long-lasting exposure for your brand, research shows the way to do it: promotional products.


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