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Why do the prices of USB sticks change so much?

Posted by USB2U on 16th January 2018 | Permalink

A question we get asked quite a lot here at USB2U from our repeat customers is why the price of their branded USB sticks has changed since they last ordered? A valid question that I think we need to address. As hard as it is to believe we don’t actually enjoy charging our customers more for their USBs when cost prices go up, especially when they have used us as their trusted promotional supplier over so many years.

Unfortunately, it all comes down to the way flash drives are manufactured and how the supply chain effectively operates. Below, we’ll go through just some of the challenges that we as a company face when it comes to pricing our USBs on a daily basis.


How are Flash Drives made?

All modern flash drives will start out life on what is called a Silicon Wafer, a thin, delicate structure designed for integrated circuits that are found in flash drives, computers and even mobile phones.

FACT: Silicon is the most common semi-conductor on Earth and the most widely used in the electronic and technology sector.

Silicon WaferSilicon Wafer

Each Silicon Wafer is designed to be broken into multiple pieces for use in a variety of different components including USB drives. Many pieces will be serialised and can be stacked together to create 3D integrated circuits which are more complex and offer a greater level of density. Larger memory size USBs will inherently contain more wafer layers inside of them.

In general, the silicon wafer will be used to create NAND chips. Such chips are non-volatile meaning they do not require a constant power supply to preserve the data stored onto them, making them ideal for flash memory devices.NAND Chip

NAND chips are manufactured specifically in fabrication plants or ‘fabs’ for short. Only a small number of these factories exist in the world, and therefore have direct control over the overall supply and, more importantly, the day-to-day market price. The majority of these factories are located in China, however, some facilities also exist in Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.

These chips are considered to be a critical component in a number of electronic devices, not just USB sticks. Modern computers, smartphones, and tablets all have NAND chips within them, thus all companies in these markets will inevitably purchase from the same supply chain. This, of course, creates problems if demand increases or there are issues in other market sectors as these will have a knock-on effect on supply and ultimately, market price.

NAND Chips ManufacturingNAND Chip uses

NAND Chip Demand Issues

The smartphone market, in particular, is notorious for causing supply chain issues.

Big tech companies with large buying power such as Samsung and Apple will often purchase huge quantities of NAND chips for use in the production of their latest smartphones.

This therefore significantly reduces the overall supply available in the market which causes the price to subsequently rise for everyone else looking to buy, including us!

While it has gotten easier over the years for factories to cope with such large orders, new tech products are being created all the time with many subsequently requiring flash memory to function.

NAND Chip Demand Issues

NAND Chip Supply Issues

It’s not just demand issues which can affect the price of USBs, it can also be supply based as well. The most expensive times to buy USB Flash Drives are February/March and September/October time where China observe their own national holidays.

You may have heard us before talking about how it’s important to order USBs before the Chinese New Year and Golden Week, well the reason for this is that production factories including ‘fabs’ close for up to 2-3 weeks over these periods. This causes a rise in demand, due to a shortage in production, which in turn leads to prices sharply rising. We ourselves have seen an increase in cost-price from 30p to anywhere up to £1.20 per unit before, during these periods.

USB China Holidays

Because only a small number of factories exist in the world if only a few of them close for just a few days, the price of the chips would likely go up. This was very much the case back in 2011 when Japan was hit with an earthquake and tsunami causing many factories to close, which consequently halted production of NAND chips out of the country for several days and ultimately led to prices increasing.


Exchange Rate Fluctuations 

Exchange rate fluctuations in general cause headaches for many businesses out there who buy from abroad. When it comes to buying NAND flash the issue is no different. Many companies, including ourselves, have to purchase these chips using US$ dollars and convert back into £’s. If the exchange rate is unfavourable between the two the overall cost price will inherently increase. This has been most apparent in recent years due to Brexit where the £ substantially depreciated against the $ and therefore we as a company ended up paying substantially more for flash drives. Even today the £’s value hasn’t quite reached the same level as it was before the referendum, therefore those who haven’t ordered from us in a while may see a noticeable increase in the price of their branded USB sticks.

Exchange Rate FluctuationsEU Referendum

Things to keep in mind when you next order USBs

NAND chips could be considered a tech commodity as their price is always determined by current supply and demand similar to that of Gold and Oil. There are times of year where prices will tend to rise and also times where they will go down, it’s always worth having a little look to see what is happening in the sector.

If you’re looking to purchase large quantities of USBs the following tips may be able to help you determine when best to buy:

  1. Look to order before February and September to avoid the closure of factories in China and the price rises that follow.
  2. Watch out for tech news especially related to new/upcoming product launches by large companies. These should give you an indication that the price of USB flash memory is set to increase.


What we can do at our end…

USB2U has become quite adept over the years of being able to predict when price rises are expected and will always try and order stock in advance. This means we can hold a variety of USBs in our own UK stock which helps to reduce some of the price volatility experienced.

Like any other commodity however, there is still an unpredictability to ordering at any time of year as prices can change daily, this is why our quotes are only usually valid for a limited time.

USB Price VolatilityUSB2U Standard Delivery

USB2U Guarantee and Promotional Tech

Our dedicated team will always do their best to get you the best price possible on your promotional USBs. Often we will look at several supplier options before coming back to you with a quote ensuring we try and obtain the best possible price.

Even if you find a cheaper supplier elsewhere, it is always best to check with us, as in most cases we will able to price match a like-for-like quote.

If you’re still not satisfied with the price quoted for your USBs why not take a look at some of our other promotional tech products including Power Banks, Speakers and Headphones to name a few!

Contact our sales staff at +44 (0)1604 684 811 or [email protected]. Alternatively, you can also visit our website to see the full range of products on offer.


How USB’s can Benefit the Open Day Experience

Posted by USB2U on 18th July 2017 | Permalink

The practice of universities operating an ‘open day’ has become very common over the last decade or so. Many institutions recognise it as an important contributor in helping prospective undergraduates decide on where their futures ultimately lie. A great deal of planning is therefore required to ensure that the initial impression given at each event is one that helps to ultimately contribute positively  towards a student’s decision.

University Open Days

In general, many open days follow a typical format in allowing people to explore the campuses; find out more information about the courses on offer and also give an impression as to the overall university experience. The thing that essentially differs between institutions is the content on offer, and how it is delivered to each individual who visits, this is especially the case when looking at the physical marketing elements such as welcome packs and guides, which are commonly given out to each student at the start of the day.


The Challenge for Open Days

The challenge arises within universities in being able to provide relevant and bespoke material to each student whilst also being able to stand out from competition and remain cost effective. In most cases it’s unlikely a university will have the time or the resources to produce packs catered for each individuals need’s, therefore the question must be asked as to whether alternative methods of producing content which remains engaging and informative are available. One way this can be accomplished is by uploading more specific/comprehensive information onto a USB Flash Drive while keeping the welcome booklet as a general guide.

USB sticks and USB cards make great handouts for any student as they can hold considerably more data in a variety of different formats. As well, such devices encourage people to go away and find out more about the university beyond their initial visit. Compared to welcome guides they remain relatively cost effective to produce; are considerably more portable and can also be branded onto to stand out.

USB Cards

Upload more information to a more portable format


How can Universities use USB’s for Open Days?  

There are many different ways USB’s can be used to help improve the overall impression left on students during open days. The most effective of these would be to upload information onto them that is relevant while also detailing the various aspects of their potential experience, whether that be through course guides; accommodation, sports clubs and societies, info about getting around the local area or even tips as to what students can do in their spare time!

As with any other business, the objective for a university should be to try and communicate the salient qualities it possesses to any prospective investor, therefore content developed to capture the interest of students and help give them all the information they require will no doubt reinforce their decision making.

Overall picking a university these days is not a simple process. Often the choice to go doesn’t necessarily come down to the course or institution itself, but a variety of different factors pertaining to the individual, thus it becomes important for institutions to try and capture prospective students with content that is relevant whilst also capturing their interest.

USB Card for Universities

USB Products make a great alternative for communicating engaging content to prospective students.


5 Tech Gifts for School Leavers

Posted by USB2U on 29th June 2017 | Permalink

School’s out!…Almost

We’re getting towards that time of year again that children love and parents fear, as the academic year comes to a close in a couple of weeks time. It’s during this period that classes start to wind down and teachers start preparing their pupils to move on to different schools/colleges, which can be quite a daunting prospect. The main concern of teachers with pupils leaving school is to try and round off their overall experience in a positive way with many choosing to give out goodies ranging from the typical photos, cards and mugs, all the way to the classic class tea towel.

In recent years however, tech gifts have been the craze among many school leavers and teachers, due in part to their high quality and also because they are likely to be used more frequently. Adding a school logo or pupils’ name to any tech product also adds a personal touch which helps create a lasting impression.

Below we take a look at 5 Tech Gifts that are sure to help any teacher obtain that level of coolness with their class while also making them the envy of his or her fellow colleagues.


1. USB’s – The Classroom Commodity 

USB Sticks for Schools

The USB stick has been a staple item in most classrooms over the past decade. Beyond the fact that they are damn useful to store data onto, they also remain a highly customizable product which can be produced in a variety of shapes and sizes, the most popular of which has to be the classic Twister USB.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   With most USB sticks it’s pretty straightforward to print/engrave a custom logo, crest or even an individual name onto them, allowing for the creation of a truly personalised product. As well the data uploaded and stored on each stick could be anything that pupils might want to look at in the future, such as class pictures, videos or even old school projects.

2. Epic Earphones!

Epic Earphones

Earphones in general are a frequently used product among children. With younger children now having access to smartphones and tablets, it makes sense to give pupils something they would be able to use day to day thus the Epic Earphones.                                                             Aptly named due to their high quality sound as well as being comfortable to wear, these earphones make a great tech gift to handout. The case as well, comes with plenty of room for school logos and messages which again adds to the overall sentimental value.

3. Tiny Speakers, Big Sound

The film August Rush stated that music is all around us, all we have to do is listen, well in this instance you wouldn’t need to listen very hard, with 30 or so pupils blasting out music on the Rainbow Bluetooth Speaker. The chances are you’re bound to hear something even if it isn’t white noise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Despite its size the speaker produces a good quality sound whilst still being able to fit in most pockets. As well the trim colour which surrounds the branding on top, lights up when in use, making it even more fun to play with. If you’re thinking about ordering a batch of these I would suggest giving them out at the end of the day to avoid any lasting hearing loss.

4. Power banks with a Torch?

Power Banks continue to be a popular product among many smart phone owners, however they can be used to charge a variety of different devices via a USB lead and can be the perfect gift for any kid who wants to go out exploring all day without worrying about their device losing power.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Rainbow Torch Power Bank in particular is also fitted with a bright LED light with three different settings to choose from, all can be activated at a touch of a button which adds to the overall enjoyment. As with the other products there is also room for a school crest/logo to be added as well.

 Rainbow Torch Power Bank

5. Share the Experience with Earphone Splitter’s

Audio Splitters make a great gift for school kids who like to show off the latest viral video or listen to music with friends without the desire to keep banging heads together.                                                                                 With the PXK Earbuds Splitter in particular, the suction cap can be used as a stand making it even easier for two of you to watch videos without lifting a finger. The Audio Splitter also makes a great little gift for any school children who are going off on holiday over the summer as well.

Earphone Splitter
Earphone Splitter

    For more information about any of our tech products please visit our website or contact our sales team at [email protected]


Should You Pre-load Data on Promotional USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 6th October 2011 | Permalink

With a constant need to keep up with competitors, reacting to the ever changing digital world, patterns and trends in industries and the rise and fall of the economy, it’s important to keep one step ahead, and get your businesses’ messages out there efficiently and effectively.

Promotional USB Flash Drives

The Rise Of The Promotional USB Stick

Demand for “old fashioned” CD’s has reduced dramatically over the years, and an increase in printing costs for traditional sales brochures has encouraged companies to look at alternative options to distribute information on their products, prices and services. By nature, consumers are also a lot more visual, and react well to videos and animations that is something that traditional printed materials of course, can’t offer.
Customised USB sticks are increasingly the solution companies opt for because:
1. Printed and customised USB memory sticks are now available for less than £2 per unit (subject to minimum quantities and type)
2. You get on-going brand exposure with USB sticks because they tend to be used by the recipient to store and carry their own personal data (after all this is what they are designed for!)
3. Postage costs to send out a DM campaign with USB sticks are significantly cheaper than sending out expensive and heavy glossy brochures.
4. The cost of printing on a USB is generally less expensive that the cost of printing brochures.
5. It’s far easier to take a few hundred or even thousand USB sticks to a trade show than it is to transport the equivalent number of heavy brochures or leaflets
6. Lots of brochures handed out at trade shows and exhibitions end up in the bins outside the exhibition halls – USB sticks don’t as they’re small enough to be carried around!
7. Pre-loading your sales catalogues, price lists, press releases, media files etc. onto any USB stick you hand out is a must – After all you’re paying for the storage space on the sticks so you might as well use it.

USB Pre-loaded Data Is A Vital Commodity

Pre-loading data onto a memory stick purchased for your 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. Plus, as mentioned, with the right memory available, short videos and animation can be loaded- something that consumers react well to.
The process of data loading is sometimes called duplication, pre-loading, copying or replication. It is relatively easy to do but it can be time consuming and you need to plan ahead to allow enough time to get the data organised. Ideally a USB stick supplier would do the data-load for you – most will offer a free data load up to a certain amount, typically 100MB.

Locking Data Onto USB Sticks

If you prefer you can “lock” the data that you pre-load onto the USB flash drive. This means that it cannot be deleted, bear in mind if you want to do this you would generally have to have your data ready early as it has to be loaded and “locked” during the manufacturing process. You also need to consider that if you load too much data onto the stick and therefore not leaving enough room for the user then they are highly unlikely to use it and your brand won’t get the on-going use and exposure you have paid for.
At USB2U we have in-house professional data-duplication equipment that enables us to pre-load data on behalf of our clients. For more information about pre-loading data onto memory sticks, feel free to email us at [email protected]


Why do I need vector artwork for print?

Posted by USB2U on 1st March 2017 | Permalink

If you work in a creative industry like us and are dealing with logos and brands on a daily basis, you will be familiar with AI and EPS file formats for logos. But why do we ask for these files when it comes to printing onto our range of USBs as well as their packaging?

A Vector file type is either .eps, .ai, .pdf and .swf, and you’d need to set up your artwork as a vector graphic to start with before saving them in these formats – you couldn’t, for example, open a JPEG and re save it as a .swf.

So why don’t we use JPEGs? JPEGs are typically low resolution files and they’re mainly used for websites because the smaller file size helps load the pages quickly. They might look ok to the eye but once you zoom in or try to print from them you’re likely to end up with poor, blurred results.

Take a look at the images below and it’s easy to see why Vector artwork is preferred over a JPEG, the images are much sharper, crisper, and look loads better printed onto USBs!


The print quality difference between a logo in jpeg format and a logo in EPS vector format

Spot the difference – jpeg or vector artwork?

USB2U show the difference between vector and jpeg artwork engraved on wood

Crisp or fuzzy logo? We know which we prefer…


If you’re still a bit unsure then you can always ask your design team to supply you with vector artwork, or you could take a look at our artwork guidelines for a detailed overview of Vector and Raster graphics.


Could This Be The Most Popular Promotional Item?

Posted by USB2U on 27th February 2017 | Permalink

usb pen

According to a study conducted by the British Promotional Merchandise Association back in 2012, the most popular promotional items amongst all customers are the handy USB drive and the traditional yet extremely useful pen.

We can see why. If we asked you the last time you actually purchased a pack of pens could you remember? Neither can we, our drawers are filled with freebies from various companies and events! Despite technology advancing, promotional pens have stood the test of time because we all need to use one near enough every day.

So with promotional USB drives now just as popular, we’ve incorporated the two with the super practical and innovative USB pen. They’re a great gift to add to goodie bags or to give out at conferences as they combine the two most popular items!

Not only that, you can pre-load data onto our stylish USB pens free of charge, which means as soon as your attendees or customers get home, they can plug the USB drive straight into their PC or Mac and be given brochures, presentations, or information on your company

We have a great range of USB pens on offer, from the classic corporate USB pen to the more premium executive USB Stylus, there’s something to suit all needs – we even have pens with a laser pointer incorporated into them!

Another great thing about the USB pen is that you can have your logo either printed or engraved onto them, and for that extra professional feel we can also supply you with tin boxes that can be branded too.

So if you’re looking to amalgamate the two most popular products into something great, why not contact us for a quote? We hold UK stock so can supply the USB pens straight to you (with data-loaded) in as little as 24 hours!


3 New Designs Added To The Iron USB Range

Posted by USB2U on 22nd February 2017 | Permalink

The Iron USB sticks are a great choice if you’re looking for a sleek USB flash drive with a minimal design and we’ve added three new innovative styles to this ever popular range!

Iron Hook Colour

iron hook colour USB
We’ve injected colour into the popular Iron USB with 7 bright new shades to choose from! So whatever your brand colour, there’s bound to be something that matches. We also offer full colour printing and engraving on the Iron Hook Colour – the options are endless!

Iron 2 Hook

Minimal and innovative with no cap, the iron 2 hook is shock proof, dust proof, and even splash proof! It will attach to any keyring with the easy-to-use Snaplink key chain so you’ll never use your files, and it’s available in six different memory sizes from 1GB to 32GB.


Iron Silicone

iron silicon USB
The Iron Silicone is convenient for day to day use and includes 3 handy rings and a removable micro USB drive. It comes in 7 eye-catching colours to match your brand, and features a super rigid alloy shell that can be stylishly engraved with your company logo.


Each USB is large enough to be easily attached to a keyring or lanyard for practicality, and the contemporary design ensures they won’t weaken or fall off when attached! They’re the perfect choice for any campaign and can be branded on both the front and back. Each USB has a read speed of 18 MB/s and a write speed of up to 5MB/s.


Contact us today for a quote! We’ve got some great offers and there’s even a preferential discounted rate for trade resellers!


Our Twisters Come In Any Combination of 2000!

Posted by USB2U on 10th February 2017 | Permalink

Our most popular branded USB memory stick is now available in any combination of 2000 colours and sizes!

That’s right, the Twister USB has always been a hit with our customers thanks to the amount of colours and memory sizes on offer, but we’ve added to that in a big way. You can now choose from any combination of 22 vibrant body colours and 15 stunning clip colours all from UK stock.

The clip is the piece that “twists” or “rotates” (hence this particular memory stick’s name) to protect the USB, and previously they were only available in black, white or silver – but with 12 extra clip shades now available, there really is no limit when it comes to style!

What’s more, there are ten memory sizes available ranging from 128Mb to 64Gb. So no matter how big or small your requirements are, we’ll definitely have something for you in the twister usb range.

If you’re not sure which combination will work best with your logo, our designers will prepare a range of options for you to consider and we don’t charge for this service.

Still not sure?  Just give our sales team a call and chat through your requirements and we can advise you on the best options for you.


PXK products now available exclusively from USB2U

Posted by USB2U on 13th January 2017 | Permalink

It is with great excitement that we are announcing our partnership with leading European promotional tech products company, Pixika. This makes us the exclusive supplier for all PXK design products in the UK and Ireland.

USB2U offering Pixika products in the UK

USB2U and Pixika partnership- branded tech products now within easy reach with our UK stock!

We will be supplying both new and existing trade customers with some fabulously priced PXK branded technology products with many added benefits from buying from a UK based company:

  • We hold stock of PXK products in the UK to guarantee fast delivery
  • We offer free origination, data upload & delivery
  • The partnership will have a positive impact on pricing as the most active resellers will have access to exclusive benefits, offers and trade pricing.

Sebastian La Porta, Managing Director of USB2U, says:

“With many years of experience in the branded promotional products industry we are well positioned to take PXK’s product range and make it an even greater success in the UK. Our friendly, local sales and after sales support team combined with our in house printing and laser engraving facilities will enable us to provide our resellers with outstanding service.”

USB2U branded tech experts logo usb2u_iron_flash_07_lpxk-design-logo

Trendy products by PXK such as the Iron USB range, high performance Power Banks, connection devices, car accessories, travel adapters – will all now be within easy reach for Distributors in UK and Ireland with USB2U’s vast amount of UK stock.

See the full range of PXK products from USB2U here.

Call us on +44 1604 685 040 to find out more, or email [email protected]




Metal USB engraving on our Express Service

Posted by USB2U on 3rd January 2017 | Permalink

We are excited to share the news with you that we now offer metal USB engraving for our customers on a UK express service.

At USB2U we are regularly developing our products and service offering for our customers. As part of this we have recently invested in new machinery that will enable us to offer a wider range of products on a shorter lead time and to control the production time and quality here in house at USB2U.

Our new engraving machine was purpose built for USB2U to ensure faster and sharper engraving results.

This new machine extends and complements our extensive finishing equipment. The method of finishing offers our customers a premium look and feel USBs, and a log lasting branding finish. And most importantly, it allows metal USBs engraved on express service!

Want to learn more?

Please contact our team: [email protected]