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Archive for July, 2012

The Perfect Branded USB Storm

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

With the growing trend in branded USB memory sticks as a vehicle to distribute promotional material, speed of production and delivery are becoming critical. The vast majority of branded USB memory sticks are manufactured in the Far East and it won’t come as any surprise that most ship from China / Hong Kong.

The normal delivery timeframe for printed USB memory sticks via a UK supplier is around 10 working days, including 3 days to arrive from the Far East. However, recently there have been several elements that have impacted this delivery period.

Branded USB Flash DRive amoungst storm clouds and lightening

Perfect USB Storm

  • Typhoon Vincent has ravaged Hong Kong and Shenzhen areas. This is the primary manufacturing and transportation hubs for branded USB memory sticks. Infrastructure has been damaged and flights delayed.
  • The Olympics is bringing in an influx of competitors, visitors and associated goods. This is limiting cargo space, as well as increasing the length of time for imports to be processed by customs.
  • Delivery in the UK, in particular around Olympic venues are being disrupted and courier companies are taking longer to deliver, as well as, charging an additional delivery fee.

So what can you do if your important event cannot wait! Put simply, do not take the risk and order your memory sticks from a UK supplier, such as USB2U, that holds a broad range of models and has in-house print facility. Whilst it may cost a little more, you can sleep easy and enjoy watching the Olympics, knowing that the memory sticks will be delivered within 24 hrs.

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The Perfect Branded USB Storm

USB2U Sponsors Gamebeast Event in Manchester

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Occasionally we get asked to sponsor various events in the UK and occasionally (when we’re feeling generous) we’ll say yes. We must have had one of those “moments” recently because we agreed to sponsor the Gamebeast gaming event in Manchester.

Whilst we can’t confess to being ardent gamers ourselves for some reason this request for sponsorship struck a chord with us and we agreed to supply some printed USB card shaped flash drives and some fancy lanyards to go with them.

Gamebeast USB Credit Cards

Gamebeast USB Credit Cards

Ltzonda who organised the event provided the artwork and with a bit of tweaking the USB cards were printed, packed a ready to go in a matter of hours. The cards were given away as prizes to gamers at the event and seemed to go down really well albeit not quite as well as the winners of the copies of the latest Forza 4 and Halo 4 games!! Funny how fickle gamers can be.

Whilst we can’t promise to provide free USB cards to everyone that wants them to promote an event they are running we can promise to supply great looking and top quality printed USB Cards in as little as 24hrs from order – you’ll need to have your artwork ready to go and if you want any data loading onto the USB cards you’ll need this sorted as well. Assuming you can do this and you can get an order to us by 2pm then we can typically get your USB cards printed and delivered to you the following day (in the morning if you’re happy to pay for the morning delivery charges).

If USB credit card shaped drives are not what you want then don’t worry because we stock a wide range of more conventional USB flash drives (some with and some without a cap) that we can also print, dataload and deliver in under 24hrs – call us for details – it’s free if you call from a landline on our 0800 number.

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USB2U Sponsors Gamebeast Event in Manchester

Ouch! – 2,000% Tax Increase on USB Flash Drives

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Until the 1st July businesses and consumers in Germany had grudgingly become accustomed to paying a tax of €0.08 on every USB flash drive they purchased but from the 1st July this tax was increased to €0.91 on USB drives with less than 4GB of storage and to €1.95 on drives with more than 4GB of storage! That’s an eye watering increase of roughly 2,000%!!

ZPÜ, the body in Germany that controls the tax regime on blank media (including USB flash drives) has not exactly been forthcoming with reasons to justify these swingeing increases but local journalists point to a “too cosy” relationship between ZPÜ and GEMA (a body that represents thousands of recording artists).

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

The tax and subsequent increases in the tax seem to have been implemented under the pretext of protecting and compensating the recording industry from the threat (real or perceived) of bootleg recording and distribution of music. A case against blank cassette tapes (does anyone still use these) seemed reasonable but to suggest that everyone buying a USB flash drives are buying them to copy and distribute music seems just plain wrong. USB sticks have significantly more uses than storing music – of the millions of USB flash drives that we have provided to schools, businesses and universities over the years we know that very few have been used to distribute music on.

Understandably some of the large memory manufacturers (Transcend and Kingston to name but two) are pretty unhappy with this tax increase and the damaging effect it’s having on their business in Germany but their year long dispute with the ZPÜ continues to rumble on with no sign of a happy conclusion.

Fortunately in the UK we don’t suffer from such a blinkered and punitive tax and as far as we know there are no plans to introduce one any time soon. Good news from our perspective at USB2U because demand for promotional USB flash drives remains high and that’s how we’d like it to stay!

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Ouch! – 2,000% Tax Increase on USB Flash Drives

Does it Make Sense to Pre-load Data onto Promotional USB Flash Drives

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Demand from schools universities and businesses for promotional USB Flash Drives is still pretty buoyant with overall sales in 2012 on track to outstrip like for like sales in 2011.

Part of the growth is because people are abandoning CD’s and DVD’s in favour of USB flash drives but fundamentally it’s because:

  1. People like being given USB flash drives, they have a high perceived value and unlike CD’s and DVD’s they offer real value to the recipeient.
  2. The price of printed and engraved USB flash drives have Printed and customised USB memory has fallen below £2 per unit (subject to minimum quantities and type)
  3. Flash drives, unlike CD’s and DVD’s tend to be used by the recipient to store and carry their own personal data (after all this is what they are designed for!) and as such the brand that is printed on it gets significantly more exposure.
  4. Postage costs have recently shot up again making the mailing of brochures and catalogues prohibitively expensive. The same brochures can be sent out electronically on a USB flash drive for a fraction of the price.
  5. Rather than printing and shipping hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of glossy brochures to trade shows companies are now finding that it’s easier (and cheaper) to take USB flash drives pre-loaded with their sales collateral. Unlike brochures that have a tendency to fill up the bins just outside of the exhibition halls USB flash drive get kept.

Pre-loading data onto a memory sticks purchased for your school or company makes good commercial sense. The savings made by pre-loading data onto USB sticks rather than printing the equivalent documents can fully offset the cost of the sticks. Build in the costs of transporting and/or storing heavy brochures and the costs benefits get really compelling.

Twister USB Flash Drives

Twister USB Flash Drives

Data loading or duplication, pre-loading, copying or replication is relatively easy to do but it can be time consuming so you need to plan ahead to allow enough time to get the data organised. Don’t try and load the data yourself. Most USB suppliers will offer a free data load up to a certain amount, typically 100MB.

You can “lock” any data that you load onto the USB flash drives which means that it can’t be deleted but it has to be loaded and “locked” during the manufacturing process.

You also need to consider that if you load too much data on the stick and don’t leave enough room for the user then they’re unlikely to use it and your brand won’t get the on-going use and exposure you have paid for.

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Does it Make Sense to Pre-load Data onto Promotional USB Flash Drives

Here we go again – USB Memory Sticks Prices Shooting Up

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Well, I suppose having been in the industry and supplied printed USB memory sticks for nearly 10 years that we ought to know by now that prices tend to shoot up in July! Maybe it was just wishful thinking and a forlorn hope that this year it might be a little bit different but it looks like our hopes have been dashed.

This week alone the price of 2GB flash chips (the core component of any USB memory stick) have shot up by 15%. Some of the other memory sizes are not as badly affected but the general trend is most definitely up. A specific flash chip type (UDP) which is commonly used in Credit Card USB flash drives and key style USB flash drives has been particularly badly hit.

Choppy Waters for USB Flash Drive Pricing

Choppy Waters for USB Flash Drive Pricing

Flash drives prices have not been helped by a falling pound (GBP £) – all flash memory is traded in US dollars so as the pound falls the price of USB sticks rise.

This article (USB Flash Drive Price Trends in 2010) written by us in January 2011 and examining price trends for USB flash drives for 2010 shows that we went through almost an identical price rises in 2010 with increases of 5-10% across the board being the norm. If the same trend is followed this year then we’re going to have to wait until October before prices start to fall again.

If you were looking for the best time to buy USB flash drives then unfortunately you’ve just missed it! As in 2010 the month of June looks to have been the best month to buy your branded or promotional USB sticks. If you have to buy now then expect to pay a premium, if you’re looking to place a repeat order, expect prices to have gone up! If you’re able to wait prices will probably be back at or below June 2012 prices in late Q4.

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Here we go again – USB Memory Sticks Prices Shooting Up
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