What are the most popular promotional products?

Promotional items are one of the most effective ways of raising brand awareness. Everyone has always used pens, mugs, keychains, and magnets as promotional items, but not everyone stops to ask why those items are used, to begin with. In order to have people talking about your brand or recognizing it as soon as you see it, you’ll need some sort of criteria for selecting your brand.

The best such criteria are that the product you select should be something that finds constant use, rather than an item that will be dumped and never seen again.

Here are the five best items to use as promotional materials and why they should be used.

Promotional drinkware

Drinkware is the second most-owned promotional item in the United States, according to a 2016 Global Advertising Specialties Study. 53% of the citizens in the country own some type of branded professional drinkware. Most brands that resort to drinkware do so because of the high staying-power that drinkware offers.

Note that ‘drinkware’ covers a wide range of products, including water bottles, mugs, cups and more.


At 58% penetration, t-shirts take the crown for ‘most popular promotional items’ in the United States. Just like mugs, the utility that t-shirts provide the average person is pretty obvious, so it’s no surprise that they are so popular.

Promotional t-shirts are very widespread in marketing circles. The best thing about them is that they are some of people’s favorite promotional materials. As compared to bags and pens, people are a lot more likely to accept a t-shirt.


Outerwear refers to clothes that were designed to be worn outside, as compared to clothes more normal indoors. This includes hoodies, hats, jackets, and coats. They are the third-most-popular items among brands with a 50% retention among customers.

A little more consideration needs to go into deciding what kinds of outerwear to use than, say, a t-shirt because of pricing issues. Outerwear is a little bit more expensive than other types of clothing.


Bags are tied alongside outerwear as the third-most owned promotional material in the United States. Bags have a lot of utility and can be used many times over before they start to wear. Thanks to their widespread use, bags have the most impressions of any other promotional item.

Additionally, bags give you a lot of room for creativity because they are that much larger than pens or USB drives. They are in the same league as t-shirts, for allowing the placement of more than just your logo.

USB drives

USB drives close off the list with a 45% popularity among US citizens. They also take the crown for the highest retention rate of any promotional product, with 91% of people given a USB drive keeping it.

The trouble with USB drives is how quickly they can break down if not properly manufactured. This is often the case with cheap products imported from China.

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