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Chinese New Year Looms Large – Expect USB Flash Drive Shortages In The UK

Posted by USB2U on 30th December 2010 | Permalink

Given that Chinese New Year happens every year you’d think by now that people would anticipate the shortages in the market that this prolonged holiday creates. To be fair many companies buying USB flash drives for shows, conferences and other marketing events for the first time might not appreciate that around the Chinese New Year Holiday typical leads times for branded USB flash drives can increase from around 10 days to 4-6 weeks!

The reason for the delay is simply because China takes its New Year celebrations very seriously with most employees travelling thousands of miles to be with their families for the duration of the holiday. The collective celebrations mean that pretty much everything stops for around 2 weeks. During this period very little manufacturing takes place and even things that are manufactured typically cannot be moved because the haulage and courier systems close for the holidays as well!

The Chinese New Year holidays have a direct impact on the availability of promotional and branded USB flash drives in the UK because that’s where they are all manufactured. Amazing as it might seem the “normal” lead times of around 10 days are for the production of the drives in China and the international freight of the drives to the UK. When the factories close backlogs build up and these coupled transport backlogs mean that it takes a week or so for lead times to get back to anything like normal.

In 2011 the holiday officially starts on the 3rd February but in practice many factories and businesses will close on the 26th January and won’t re-open until the 14th February. So, if you need to order promotional flash drives for delivery in later January or February then you need to get your orders placed by the 19th January at the latest. If you order later than this then there’s no guarantee they will arrive in time or you might have to find a supplier that carries blank (unprinted) stock in the UK and go with whatever options they have.

Very few companies carry blank stock of flash drives in the UK and when they do the stock tends to be limited to a couple of standard models and memory sizes and your choice of colour will be limited.

USB2U, having been supplying branded USB flash drives since 2002 and are well versed in the challenges of supply during Chinese New Year. If do need USB flash drives printed with your logo on from a UK supplier during Chinese New Year (or any other time for that matter) then give the team at USB2U a call.


Promotional USB Memory Sticks Boosted By iPad Rumours

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

If all the rumours swirling around the internet are true then its looks like the next generation iPad (iPad 2) will feature an integral USB port as well as a thinner and lighter chassis, front and rear cameras and a high-resolution display.

Of course, in the run up to a formal announcement in January, these are just rumours for now but, the inclusion of a

iPad2 USB Rumours

iPad2 USB Rumours

USB port would open up all sort of interesting possibilities not least for the promotional USB market. The profile of the typical iPad user shows a bias towards men in the 30-54 age range with higher than average earnings thus making them a very appealing marker for advertisers.

Today thousands of companies give away millions of promotional USB memory sticks that are printed with their brand and in a growing number of cases the memory sticks are stuffed full of pre-loaded files before being given away. These pre-loaded files are often media files (movie clips, audio files) as well as sales brochures, press releases, product sheets and so on. At the moment advertisers cannot specifically target iPad users with USB sticks but if the rumours circulating about iPad2 are true then all of a sudden an attractive market opens itself up.

Whilst a significant amount of content can of course be delivered directly to the iPad over the web there are a significant number of iPads being sold with only WiFi connectivity and for these users the ability to download files from a USB stick would be an attractive option. Even those with 3G contracts are likely to appreciate the speed and convenience of uploading files locally from a USB stick.

Like all rumours they could be unfounded. Of all the talked about enhancements likely to appear in the next generation iPad the talk of a USB port is the one that has the user market most excited and inevitably it’s the one that’s most likely not to happen. All we can do for now is sit and wait for the official announcements!


How Are Schools In The UK Using USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 29th December 2010 | Permalink

USB Flash Drives are proving popular with schools and universities up and down the country at the moment but they’re not all buying them for the same reason. Whilst many are buying them for their staff and pupils to enable them to backup and store their work lots of others are getting very creative and are buying them for all manner of events and activities including:

  1. Award Ceremonies – A number of schools are buying USB flash drives printed with the school crest and details of their annual awards evening and are giving the branded flash drives to all of the attendees. The USB drives are pre-loaded with details of all of the award categories and winners before being handed out. Electronic versions of the Award Certificates are pre-loaded onto the drives for the award winners adding a personal touch to their particular drive.
  2. School Open Evenings – Today with significantly more choice and power in the hands of the parent when it comes to selecting a school for their children it’s important that schools actively promote themselves to prospective pupils and parents alike. Pretty much all schools now make lots of information about the school available on the school web site(s) including performance tables, OFSTED reports and intake procedures. Much of this information is also given away on school open evenings but with the amount of information now demanded, printing and collating the information and having it ready for the open evening can be a daunting task. Consequently as an alternative some schools are now making all of this information available on a pre-loaded and branded USB memory sticks. The branded USB sticks are then handed out to the parents who in turn can read and/or print the information at their leisure.
  3. School Shops – some enterprising schools are buying USB flash drives in bulk and at a discount and then reselling the USB sticks to pupils (and staff) via the school shop. Typically the profits flow back to the school but occasionally the purchase and sale of the sticks will be organised by a student group to enable them to fund raise for trips and events.

    USB for Universities

    USB for Universities

  4. Fresher Fairs – in an effort to attract students to join certain events and activities at university it’s not unusual for promotional USB flash drives to be given away to encourage them to stop by and listen to a “pitch” at a specific stand.
  5. DT Projects – some schools with students studying GCSE Design Technology have discovered that custom and bespoke USB flash drives are ideal products for students to develop their DT skills on. The core component of a USB flash drive; the controller chip, the flash memory module and the USB connector are readily available from UK suppliers and allow students to design, manufacture and package a complete USB product.


This list is by no means an exhaustive list but it does go some way to illustrate the diverse way in which USB flash drives are being used by schools and universities in the UK.


Santa Using USB Flash Drives To Store Present List On

Posted by USB2U on 22nd December 2010 | Permalink

In a break with tradition it’s been revealed that this year Santa Claus will be keeping track of his present list and his delivery route on a USB flash drive. Historically Santa and his magical elves have used pen and paper to keep a record of all the letters sent to him and all of the gift requests posted to him at the North Pole. But, as good as they are its been rumoured that the elves are getting overwhelmed with the task and have now decided to use technology to help organise themselves and to ensure that everyone gets the gifts they want.

Traditionalist and some of the elders amongst the elves who work at the North Pole have expressed disappointment at the suggested move and are worried that this might be the beginning of the end for many of their well established and well loved traditions. In response the PR team who represent Santa Claus have made it clear that the use of USB flash drives is not a threat to the tradition of Father Christmas and cite the now established use of email as a way to send a virtual letter to Father Christmas as a way in which technology has enabled more children to engage directly with him and his team of elves.

They go on to say that “Father Christmas and his team are only using a USB flash drive to “back-up” the millions of requests they receive every year” and that the USB drives will not replace the written lists that the elves keep.  Just like any business or operation on this scale they clearly feel that it’s prudent to take maintain a back-up in the event of a disaster and for this they should be applauded.

Santa USB Flash Drive

Santa USB Flash Drives

With the on-going development of GPS technology, global mapping, PC tablets, global 3G broadband its going to be interesting to see what other technology Father Christmas and his team adopt in years to come.  What is clear from the comments emerging from the North Pole is that technology will be used where it is appropriate and where it can aid the delivery of presents to the children of the world but, it will not be used for the sake of it and it most certainly will not be allowed to interfere with or damage the traditions or magic that we all know as Father Christmas


Expected Trends for Branded USB Memory Sticks In 2011

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

During 2010 branded USB memory sticks cemented their place as one of the top business promotional products and it’s a trend that looks set to continue into 2011 and beyond. The reason for their popularity is simple:

  1. Branded USB Memory Sticks have a high perceived value, they are universally used by all as the method to store and transport data files and they have become a key tool for students and business users alike. Hence as a promotional product any business giving them away knows they are going to be well received and used.
  2. There are a wide range of USB memory sticks available so it’s relatively easy to find a model that will compliment your brand, logo and/or strapline.  Some of the larger models are also large enough to have a print area that will comfortably take a telephone number and/or web address.
  3. The price of branded USB memory sticks continues to fall. They are not quite as cheap as CD’s or DVD’s but the smaller memory size version (128MB) are now available fully branded for less than £2 per stick.
  4. The shell colour of most USB memory stick models can be pantone matched to any colour you want and whilst this typically costs a little more it usually adds only a few pennies to the overall unit cost.
  5. At their heart USB memory sticks are designed to carry data and lots of it. Consequently, many companies are now pre-loading their branded USB memory sticks with sales brochures, press releases, media files, technical support documents, presentations and so on before the USB sticks are distributed – this not only save the money normally associated with getting these items printed but it also saves the transportation costs of moving them around and it makes the USB stick intrinsically more valuable. Pre-loading USB sticks with lots of data is a tedious job and something best left to the professionals who have multi-slot data loading machines. Many suppliers of branded sticks will offer to data load sticks for free to secure an order so shop around.
  6. A well chosen and well printed branded USB memory stick looks fantastic and will be a great advert for any company that gives them away.

Looking forward to 2011 the expected trends for Branded USB Memory Sticks are:

  1. More pre-loading – Increased use of the storage facility on every USB memory stick to pre-load company information and sales material prior to distribution.
  2. Bigger memory sizes – As the price drops its likely that the default memory size of a promotional flash drive will increase from the current 1GB to2GB or 4GB
  3. More bespoke models – During 2010 the costs of fully bespoke USB memory sticks (sticks manufactured in a specific shape, e.g. bottle, car, keyfob, fork lift truck etc.) dropped dramatically. Increased competition amongst the factories that manufacture them coupled with improvements in production techniques are likely to lead to a huge increase in the demand for truly customised USB flash drives.
  4. Faster speeds – The new USB standard; USB 3.0 will see data transfer speeds increase by a factor of X4. First generation USB flash drives using the USB 3.0 (Superspeed) standard are already available but they are a little expensive as a promotional product. Expect prices of USB 3.0 flash drives to fall towards the end of 2011 and for some companies to start using them as a promotional item.
  5. USB Credit Cards – the new ultra thin USB credit cards (only 2mm thick) are likely to become much more popular during 2011 because they are a form factor we are all familiar with and they offer much great scope and flexibility from a branding and printing perspective.
  6. USB Twister Retains its Crown – despite lots of new models and plenty of innovation expect the every popular USB Twister (capless) model to reign supreme again in 2011.

Barrels of USB Fun This Christmas

Posted by USB2U on 21st December 2010 | Permalink

One of the more interesting and unusual USB flash drives available at the moment is the USB barrel. These are cute little wooden and metal barrels that have got a USB connector and USB flash memory embedded inside the barrel.

USB Barrel

USB Barrel

The barrels can be printed or embossed with a logo and supplied in an optional attractive presentation box. The base of the USB barrels is magnetic so you can play all sorts of interesting games with them to pass the time – picking up paperclips and staples, seeing how many USB barrels you can hang from a single barrel, Ten Pin USB barrel bowling and so on….!

On a more serious note the USB barrels are ideal for the wines and spirits sector or Scotch Whisky Distilleries who might want to promote their products in a slightly more innovative way. If you’re selling premium Whisky then these USB barrels are an excellent way to raise awareness about your brand and your whisky. Whilst you can’t send them out filled with a sample of the whisky you can pre-load them PDF’s or documents detailing the history behind the distillery, the brands that you blend, tasting notes, discount vouchers and featured whisky tours.

Of course the use of USB barrels is not limited whisky, the same principals apply to any fine wine or spirits.

USB barrels are available in dark or light wood finishes and memory sizes ranging from 1GB all the way up to a massive 16GB with even the smallest version providing ample room for pre-loading lots of important information about the drink(s) being promoted.

Whilst there are lots of “standard” styles of USB flash drives to choose from the USB barrels are just that little bit different as well as being incredibly robust and strong. If you’d like a quote for branded USB barrels just give us a call or fill out our the quote form on our web site.

USB Barrels

USB Barrels


Promotional USB Flash Drives – Best Sellers in 2010

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

With the end of 2010 fast approaching its time for our annual roundup of the best selling promotional USB flash drives in 2010 and a quick look at the trends we expect to see emerging in 2011.

Overall promotional USB flash drives continue to grow in popularity with more companies realising that by pre-loading them with sales material, press releases and media files that they can more than offset the cost of the purchase of the flash drive from the savings they make by not printing this collateral. Falling costs, faster lead times, a wider range of models and continued innovation by the manufacturers have also driven their popularity.

Custom flash drives (fully bespoke models) rather than standard factory designs have also seen a big leap in popularity in 2010, again, partly driven by falling costs, reduced set-up and tooling costs and improved lead times. The incredibly popularity of flash drives means it can be increasingly difficult to generate a “wow” factor with standard drives and this has also led to the move towards custom USB memory sticks.

From the standard range of USB drives the best sellers in 2010 were:

Twister USB Memory Sticks – The simple “Twister” flash drive regularly tops the list of best sellers and 2010 is no

Twister USB

Twister USB

exception. Its popularity derives from its simplicity, the fact there is no cap to lose and because it comes in a wide range of colours. New mono versions (where the rotating clip matches the body colour) have proven to be an instant hit further fuelling demand for the Twister.

USB Credit Cards – the new 2mm thick versions of the USB credit card have become an instant hit. A little more expensive than standard shaped USB flash drives but with significantly more print area to work with they are ideal for more complex images. The fact that they are the same size as a standard bankcard means they are ideal to pop into a wallet or purse.

Credit Card USB

Credit Card USB

Chic USB Flash Drive – clean, simple lines coupled with a wide range of colours and a good print area make this a popular USB stick. Certainly not one of the newer styles but an endearing favourite all the same.

Looking forward to 2011 we expect to see further growth in the demand for customised USB flash drives and the first generation of USB 3.0 promotional flash drives. At the moment USB 3.0 products are too expensive to be considered by the promotional market but in 2011 we’re likely to see the first promotional versions issued albeit it’s likely these will be tightly targeted because they are going to be expensive.

With falling prices the typical memory size used for promotional usb flash drives is likely to increase from 1GB to 2GB or 4GB and with this extra space is likely to come a growth in the demand for pre-loading the drives with data before they are distributed.


Buying Branded USB Flash Drives – Beware Chinese New Year Delays

Posted by USB2U on 15th December 2010 | Permalink

The biggest and most important holiday in China is the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) and in 2011 it will be the Year of the Rabbit. The festival to celebrate the New Year begins on the first day of the first lunar month and ends with a Lantern Festival 15 days later.

In 2011, The Year of the Rabbit the New Year festivities will officially start on the 3rd February but for many the holidays will start before this date to allow them time to travel home to be with their families.

The factories that manufacture USB flash drives will close on 26th January and re-open on the 14th February. During this time nothing gets manufactured. It’s not just the USB factories that close, pretty much the whole country closes for business including the freight networks and carriers (UPS, TNT, DHL, etc.) that move the shipments of the flash drives out of the country.

Even when the factories return to work there is usually a delay of around 2-3 days before production gets back to normal but even then there is normally a backlog of orders to deal with. As a consequence the lead-time for branded USB flash drives can increase during the period around Chinese New Year from 10 days to 28 days!

Chinese New Year - Flash Drives

Chinese New Year - Flash Drives

The last day for orders for USB drives that are to be produced and printed at the factories in China is 18th January. Order placed after this date are unlikely to be delivered until late February!

Our advice is to plan ahead and get your order(s) in early to avoid disappointment.

Some UK suppliers of flash drives do hold blank (unprinted) stock of the more popular models and memory sizes in the UK. These can then be printed or finished with a dome sticker and turned around in a few days. But if past years are anything to go by this stock goes quickly and prices are increased to reflect demand and to reflect the higher costs of printing and handling in the UK.


Merry Christmas From The Team At USB2U

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

For the team at USB2U 2010 has been an incredibly busy year so we’re looking forward to Christmas and in particular we’re looking forward to putting our feet up for a few days and taking a well earned rest!

During 2010 we’ve supplied more branded USB flash drives to more customers than ever before. We thought 2009 was a good year but 2010 has surpassed all of our expectations so we’d like to say a big thanks to all of our customers (old and new) for trusting us with their business during the last year.

Looking forward to 2011 we expect the demand for branded USB flash drives to continue unabated. Flash drives certainly seem to be the promotional and business sales tool of the moment with millions being given away every year. The continued investment in new designs, new printing technologies allied to falling prices and reduced lead times has underpinned the demand for USB drives – long may in continue.

If you do need to contact us then please bear in mind that our offices will close lunchtime on the 24th December. We re-open on the 27th December.

Have a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Happy Christmas From The Team at USB2U

Happy Christmas From The Team at USB2U


Personalised USB Flash Drives Are Ideal For Home Or Office Use

Posted by USB2U on 14th December 2010 | Permalink

If you are looking for a different and innovative to reach new customers the you might consider giving them a personalised USB flash drive – that’s a flash drive that has been printed with your logo and that might also include your sales brochure(s) pre-loaded onto them

Of course if you’ve got a large advertising and marketing budget and its already committed and working for you then you might be reluctant to try something a little bit different but for the vast majority of firms personalised flash drives are a godsend. Having the ability to ensure that you or your companies name will be on the desk and computers of so many of your potential customers is something that is of tremendous value and benefit to many firms.

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

The winning attribute of personalised USB flash drives is that they carry a genuine value in their own right. Whilst the capability to print a logo on them is appealing it’s the fact that they are so intrinsically useful that makes them an attractive marketing tool. The role of a USB flash drive is to transfer and pass data and because it does this so well flash drives have become invaluable in business today and therefore there is a huge need for firms to have a number of these products.

If you compare the real and perceived value of a USB flash drive to the majority of promotional items that you receive its easy to see why they are popular. With a few exceptions most other promotional products are cluttering up desk drawers or more likely have long been relegated to the bin. Promotional products of this type don’t offer value for money and let’s face it in the current economic climate every penny that is spent need to deliver.

This means that having a product that is likely to be used on a very regular basis, promoting your name or the brand of your company will become much easier. This is because there should be positive brand recognition from the people who use your gift, which may translate into future sales.

The success of the USB flash drive has seen them permeate into schools, universities, offices and the home. If you have children at school or university then its likely they will need to do their homework on a PC or Mac and then transfer this work to school or university on a flash drive. Similarly flash drives are a common way of transferring work from between the office and home. The bottom line is we all seem to love four flash drives and delight in having lots of them.