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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.

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We’ll be at the Newborn Photography Show!

Posted by USB2U on 11th May 2017 | Permalink

USB2U will be at the Newborn Photography Show

15th & 16th May 2017, Coventry

We’re going to be at the UK’s largest photography show for Newborn, Child and Maternity Photographers. This fantastic 2-day event will feature masterclasses and even some live stage action!

Don’t forget to come and say hi to team USB2U on stand 62-63, we have some brilliant show only offers and we’ll be showcasing our latest products, including our brand-new luxury boxes!

We’ll also be giving away a free gift to anyone who mentions this blog post on the day.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Book Your Free Tickets Now

Trade show Times – 15th May 2017 10-5pm 16th May 2017 9-4pm

Heart of England Conference & Events Centre
Meriden Road
Fillongley
Coventry
CV7 8DX

Wooden box and wooden USB personalised

 

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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]

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Come and visit us at the 2017 PPExpo!

Posted by USB2U on 17th January 2017 | Permalink

USB2U are exhibiting at the PPE show

The Promotional Product Expo is recognized as the largest trade show in the industry, and this year it will take place at The Ricoh Arena in Coventry between 25-26 January 2017.

We are excited about exhibiting at the show, and you will find us on stand Z52.

There are so many great reasons to visit us!

  • We are now the sole distributor of PXK’s tech products in the UK and Ireland. Come and find out more!
  • We have some great new products to share with our resellers – come and see what’s new.
  • Pick up our catalogue and a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card to grab yourself a free upgrade to our UK stock express service…

… plus many more.

If you haven’t registered yet, now’s the time: http://bit.ly/2hUAWw4

Team USB2U look forward to seeing you there!

See our extensive tech gift range here.

USB, Power Bank and Tech Gift stock in the UK over Chinese New Year

Don’t forget we carry plenty of USB, Power Bank and Tech Gift stock in the UK over Chinese New Year

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Plan ahead – Chinese New Year falls early in 2017!

Posted by USB2U on 12th December 2016 | Permalink

Chinese New Year is fast approaching so the time to plan your USB and Power Bank orders for January and February 2017 is now!

The celebrations for 2017 fall earlier than recent years have. This year the celebrations will take place (and factories & production closed) between 21st January – 8th February 2017. Therefore the cut-off date for standard orders placed is as early as 11th January to avoid delays.

Can’t order in time? Don’t fear! With our UK stock and in house printing facilities we are able to serve you seamlessly throughout this period.

We guarantee reliable delivery of USBs, Power Banks and other tech products – just get in touch with our friendly team here at USB2U.

We hold a large amount of UK stock!

Contact us on:

[email protected]

0800 008 7079

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

 

 

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On USB pricing instability

Posted by USB2U on 17th October 2016 | Permalink

NAND* flash prices have been creeping up since the factories in China returned from their Golden Week National Holidays, and unfortunately for us and our customers, they are still on the rise. Industry experts predict that NAND flash prices will continue to rise in Q4 of 2016 due to severe supply shortages. This has a direct impact on the cost of branded USB sticks.

Whilst we do everything in our power to serve our customers with steady products and services there is one thing that is completely out of our hands: the cost of USB flash memory. Whilst we don’t know exactly what is causing the supply and demand issue, we have a strong suspicion that the big players in the smartphone industry, Samsung and Apple, could have something to do with it in the lead up to Christmas.

The cost of flash memory has always been something that fluctuates which is why we only hold our quotes for USB memory sticks for 24-72 hours on average. However over the past few years, pricing had been fairly static with only a slight change from week to week. In contrast over the past week, pricing has been changing on a daily basis, sometimes 2-3 times a day, so we have reduced our quote validity period down to a strict 24 hours.

The weakening of the pound since the EU referendum is another factor influencing the market and pricing levels. Since the vote to leave the European Union was announced, pricing has become even more unsteady and certainly unpredictable. This is due to the impact the vote result has had on the value of the pound and subsequently the dollar exchange rate.

Sometimes the fast changing USB flash pricing can take our customers by surprise, and we fully appreciate this. We always work hard to allow the best possible pricing for our customers, and hope that the market will start showing some stability in the New Year.

 

* The digital memory component that is used in a range of tech goods including smartphones and USB memory sticks.

image001-6

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Top 5 tips to troubleshoot your USB stick

Posted by USB2U on 7th October 2016 | Permalink

Troubleshooting your USB stick plugged into a Mac

What to do when your USB stick just won’t work.

We’ve all been there. You desperately need to back up a wedding album or a set of photos for a client, and your USB stick decides to stop working properly. There is nothing more frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry to get that special USB stick out to a client who is waiting for their precious wedding photos…

So what can you do to get around this issue? We’ve put together our top 5 tips on how to fix some basic errors that can occur with all branded USB sticks:

  1. Check that the USB stick is plugged in the correct way around. This may seem a bit obvious, but some of our branded USB sticks such as the USB Card can actually be inserted into the port upside down in error. Double check that the USB connector is plugged in the correct way up.
  2. Try formatting the USB device and loading the images again. A bit like turning it off and on again, formatting a USB stick is always our first port of call if things aren’t running smoothly. On a PC, right click on the device and select ‘quick format’, on a Mac go to Disk Utility and navigate to formatting through there. Once you’ve done this try loading your images again. Fingers crossed you will be running at lightning speed again in no time.
  3. Try loading the data up on another device or USB port. Sometimes, USB ports stop working properly so it’s always best to eject the USB safely and try a port either on another computer altogether or on another location on your current device
  4. Restart your PC or Mac. If formatting and different ports fail to work, it could be a hardware issue. Try restarting your device and then beginning the image transfer process again
  5. Call your USB supplier for technical support. If all else fails, the device itself could need replacing. All good USB suppliers should have in house technical support to speak to over the phone and a substantial warranty period to cover you should the USB stick need replacing.

As with any electronic device, branded USB sticks are never 100% fool proof and from time to time, things can go wrong.

Here at USB2U we recognize your need for high quality, reliable products and as such we offer a full 10 year warranty on all of our USB sticks. Your dedicated account manager is only ever a phone call away and will support you 100% should anything go wrong.

Our promise to you is that we won’t leave you empty handed. We stand behind our products and promise to never let you down when things go wrong.

Need help with your branded USB sticks? Call USB2U now on 0800 008 7079 or email [email protected] and one of our friendly account managers will be more than happy to help.

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Cycle4Cynthia 2016 – Natalie takes on the challenge!

Posted by USB2U on 26th September 2016 | Permalink

On Sunday 25th September 2016, USB2U’s very own cycling superhero Natalie Longley took on the challenge of a 50 mile cycle ride to raise money for our chosen charity, Cynthia Spencer Hospice.

Natalie from USB2U on her Cynthia Spencer Charity Bike Ride

Natalie rode 50 miles for Cynthia Spencer Hospice!

Natalie, Head of Sales and Commercial Development for USB2U, does cycle regularly with a local cycling group, however the prospect of a ride which was over 50 miles long was in her own words “a little daunting to say the least”. It was a gruelling course with 3000ft of climbing (who knew Northamptonshire was so hilly?!) but with £350 of sponsorship money riding on the event, Natalie wasn’t going to give up without a fight! Luckily the amazing Cynthia Spencer volunteers and her support team Steve and Diane Sharpe from White Arches Caravans kept her going with plenty of refreshments and encouragement. She finished the ride in 3.5 hours.

Cynthia Spencer Hospice is a charity close to many people’s hearts in the Northampton area and in 2016 USB2U, a leading supplier of branded USB sticks, power banks and other promotional tech gifts, decided to put all their fundraising efforts towards this fantastic local organisation and raise money regularly through a series of events.

Natalie from USB2U with a Cynthia Spencer Frame

Natalie at the finish line!

Sebastian La Porta, Managing Director of USB2U, said: “We are delighted to offer our support for this charity, which has touched the lives of so many in our local community. It is our honour to be part of the fundraising effort for Cynthia Spencer Hospice.”

Over the coming months, Team USB2U have many more charity events planned including a hair raising Lift Tower Abseil in Northampton town centre which Karen Eede, Senior Account Manager, and some of her colleagues will be taking on. Watch this space to find out more about USB2U’s fundraising activities.

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Summer Weddings All Wrapped Up

Posted by USB2U on 7th September 2016 | Permalink

Pink Wooden USB and Box

September is here, the evenings are drawing in and the summer wedding season is almost at its peak. Now that the hard work is done (or is just beginning for most professional photographers who have long nights ahead editing!) it’s time to think about how you will package your precious images before presenting them to the lucky newlyweds.

Wedding images look great printed and framed, but it’s impossible to print every single shot for your bride and groom. The solution? Digital. Branded USB sticks are the perfect accessory to your wedding package, offering your married couples the freedom of copying or printing their favourite pictures for family and friends.

But how can you create that ‘wow factor’ with logo branded USB sticks, like you can with a high quality album? It’s simple. Choose a unique style of USB and carefully select a matching box that complements your branding and your clients won’t forget you in a hurry. USB Boxes and other photography packaging solutions are the first thing your clients will see when they receive their images, so make sure you give them a great first impression with quality, luxury packaging.

Pastel blue wooden USB and matching box

Pastel Woodland USB and Pastel Box

Here at USB2U we offer a wide range of bespoke, wooden and leather USBs which work brilliantly for weddings and all come with a matching USB box. Following one of the hottest trends for summer weddings this year (pastel colours) we have recently launched a new range of pastel coloured Wooden USB sticks, available in white, baby pink, baby blue, lilac, yellow and teal. What’s more, we now offer these as a bundle with a matching pastel coloured USB box.

Not sure what colour to go for? Call us on 0800 0087079 or email [email protected] to discuss your options.

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USBs and Power Banks During the Chinese National Holidays

Posted by USB2U on 5th September 2016 | Permalink

The Chinese holiday period is fast approaching. However with our levels of products and services we are able to get you through this period with flying colours!

The majority of branded promotional USB sticks and power banks are manufactured in China. Running up to the Chinese holidays the manufacturing process will slow down and eventually stop. This results in a shortage of supply and increase in prices prior to and for a short period after the holiday. The lead times for deliveries will also increase.

During this time, if you require fast, reliable delivery of USBs, power banks or other branded technology products, then get in touch with our friendly team here at USB2U. We hold a large amount of UK stock of USB memory sticks and power banks giving us the opportunity to serve you and your customers seamlessly over the Chinese holidays.

The holiday period in China kicks off on the 15th and 16th September with Mid Autumn Festival, followed by the Golden Week during 1st – 9th October. The celebrations include Fire Dragon dancing, displaying of lanterns and eating moon cakes under the moonlight with family members.

Contact us on: [email protected] or call: 0800 008 7079.

Ceremonial dancers at a Chinese festival

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