It’s particularly difficult time to be buying promotional USB memory sticks at the moment. It’s not that there are any fundamental issues with supply it’s just that the pricing is all over the place.
The biggest problem is the weakness of the pound (£) against the dollar ($).
Pretty much every USB stick in the world is manufactured in China and USB memory sticks are traded in dollars. So if you’re a UK company (as we are) and you’re looking to import stocks from China then the exchange rate is critical in terms of setting price and margin. Ideally you also want reasonable levels of stability so that the prices you quote can be supported for more than a day or two. At this moment the pound is in “freefall” against the dollar so it’s a brave supplier that will hold their prices for any more than a day or two!! Not ideal for all parties.
The problem, no surprise, is the forthcoming Scottish Election on independence. With the polls now suggesting things are going to be very very close the uncertainty over the future of the UK has cast a long shadow over the currency markets. In the past few weeks the falling pound has resulted in a 6%+ increase in the price of imported USB memory sticks.
Unfortunately the next few weeks are likely to see the pound come under further pressure so price volatility is going to be with us for the foreseeable future.
Whilst all of this is going on the seasonal changes the usually impact the promotional USB market are also happening. It’s around now, as buying chase their Christmas stock that prices start to rise. So we’re about to see a “double whammy” of currency instability coupled with annual price rises. The combined effect could lead to prices increasing by around 20%.
Our advice is to buy now. Talk to your supplier, negotiate the best price you can get but don’t hang-around whilst you’re doing it. When you have a price you’re happy with then get your order confirmed and lock in the price. The exposure on the price/currency volatility is then your suppliers responsibility and at the moment they’re going to be in a very uncomfortable place.
Hopefully after the election things will settle down but at the moment there is just so much doubt and uncertainty about that it would be a brave man that would bet on it.