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USB2U News

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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The History of USB2U

Posted by USB2U on 3rd October 2017 | Permalink

This week marked USB2U’s 15th anniversary and as such we thought it would be fitting to look back on the history of the business and how far it has come since its humble beginnings back in 2002. Having started out as one of the first UK USB suppliers, the company now offers promotional tech products to a wide range of businesses operating in a variety of industries!

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China’s Golden Week- What you need to know

Posted by USB2U on 7th September 2017 | Permalink

As has been the case for many years now, China celebrates two key holidays each Autumn. The first is National Day which is held on the 1st of October and lasts for 7 days to commemorate the formation of the People’s Republic of China. This week long break is often referred to as Golden Week as pretty much all of China’s population are given time off work, with many people choosing to go travelling in the country. The second holiday is the Mid-Autumn festival which luckily this year falls on October 4th right in the middle of Golden Week.

 

What does this mean for USB2U?

Like many tech suppliers out there, certain product lines and tech components, such as flash drives for USB’s and Power Banks, are manufactured solely in China. Over Golden Week most manufacturing and distribution facilities start to slow down and eventually come to a halt, which consequently has a knock on effect for western companies. For USB2U in particular we are unable to necessarily get hold of certain products manufactured in China or able to outsource more complex print work over this period, meaning the lead times for deliveries will increase on select customer orders.

The weeks before and after Golden Week can be just as troublesome. Often there are price increases on certain goods as supply levels drop and production slows down, while the weeks after can often be off-set by factories playing catch up with processing orders!

USB Production

What steps do USB2U take to help?

In the lead up to the National Holidays, we will be stocking up on components and tech products ahead of time, ensuring that supply levels don’t run too low. This means that we can still provide a comprehensive range of products whilst delivering a seamless level of service that our customers have come to expect.

 

UK Stock

Furthermore to this USB2U has a range of promotional tech products available in UK stock which can be delivered in as little as 24 hours meaning that you can still order something last minute without any issues. Within the range we have everything from USB’s and Power Banks which remain popular choices among many; to  Speakers, Earphones, Wearable Tech and even Car Accessories ensuring there is still plenty on offer.

 

Our Advice

Whilst we endeavour to ensure it remains business as usual here at USB2U, we recommend that if you are thinking about placing an order within the next few weeks that you consider doing so on or before the 18th of September, to guarantee that your products are delivered on time. If you are unsure about whether or not your item will arrive on time or if you plan on ordering after the 18th-  then please get in touch with us through our online enquiries form or call us on 0800 008 7079 where we will be able to provide you with more information.

China National Holidays

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Congratulations Lorna from all of us at USB2U!

Posted by USB2U on 25th July 2017 | Permalink

A big congratulations to Lorna Preston from the whole team here at USB2U, for not only placing as a finalist for the “Photographer of the Year” but for also winning a top award at the Annual Newborn Photography Show. The show itself is the largest of its kind in Europe which is aimed specifically at photographers who specialise in newborn, maternity and child photographers. Lorna was nominated as a finalist for “Photographer Of The Year” in the Maternity category out of hundreds of applicants nationwide. Not only that, but Lorna also went on to win “Small Trader of the Year” for her impressive backdrops business! An outstanding achievement to say the least!

Lorna Preston Maternity Finalist

Lorna’s Entry for ‘Photographer of the Year 2017’ in the maternity category

Lorna Preston

Our very own Dawn was lucky enough to be sat on the same table as Lorna at the highly acclaimed Newborn Show Awards Dinner and was delighted to discover that Lorna was an existing customer from back in 2013! Lorna explained that because of a high minimum order quantity she had refrained from placing an order directly with us and had instead bought smaller quantities via our Etsy Page as she loved our products but just didn’t need 25 at a time. USB2U had previously received this feedback from various customers and we listened! As a result we now offer special bundle options for as little as 10 units which Lorna was ever so pleased about – so much so that she ordered then and there!

White Trinket Box- Lorna Preston

Here’s what Lorna had to say…

“As a customer of USB2U, I was delighted to discover that they now offer orders of 10 which is really helpful to a photographer like myself. Dawn, my contact, was great in advising what type of product would suit my brand and also which would show off my logo best. I’ve just taken delivery of my brand new trinket box order and I must say they are stunning – I almost don’t want to part with them! The attention to detail is fabulous (even down to the straw filling inside). I can’t wait to show them off to my clients which will no doubt fall in love with them too.”

Make sure to check out Lorna’s website-  www.lornasphotography.co.uk (currently having a makeover) and follow her on social media! 🙂 – Instagram- @lorna_preston                                                                                                                                                                                                              Facebook – @LornasPhotography

 

 

 

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Photographers! 3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence

Posted by USB2U on 7th April 2017 | Permalink

In previous posts we’ve looked at ways to help grow your Instagram following and listed the best hashtags to use for maximum engagement, so we thought it was about time we branched out to social media channels as a whole, as they’re all great for Photographers in their own way.

So if you’re utilising Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram, these 3 quick and easy tips will improve your social media presence and in turn will increase engagement on your pages!

USB2U Instagram Page

1. Make Your Images & Profile Name Consistent on all channels

If you have accounts across a number of Social Media channels, then it’s best to keep the same name (or handle) throughout. Using your business or company name consistently across all social media is not only great for brand recognition, it’ll make sure your customers and potential clients remember you!  If someone else has already got in their first and your name has been taken, try and keep things as similar as possible for brand awareness and definitely make sure your profile image is the same across all mediums.

 

2. Update your cover photo

As a photographer, your cover photo is one of the best places to showcase your work on your Twitter and Facebook profiles, they’re also the first thing people see when they visit your page so it’s best to make a good impression!Using an irrelevant or even worse, no cover photo is such a wasted opportunity so getting the best picture and the right size is key. What is the best size? The recommended dimensions for Twitter are 1500x500px, and for Facebook the perfect cover photo would be 830x315px, so get snapping!

 

3. Keep Your Bio relevant

 Much like your cover photo, your bio is one of the first places potential new clients will head to in order to find out more information about you, so make sure it contains everything you need them to know! You’d be surprised at how many photographers have information in their bio that isn’t relevant to their customers. So try adding things such as your speciality, your location, your contact details, and if you can – a link to your website.

Twitter and Instagram both have quite a limited character count for your bio, at 160 and 150 characters, so you really need to make sure you pack in a punch quickly! Try and get in all the relevant information, but also inject a bit of personality in there!

 On Facebook pages, it gives you the options for both a short and long description – make sure you’re using them both!

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The Photographer’s Guide To Instagram Hashtags

Posted by USB2U on 16th March 2017 | Permalink

As a photographer, having an Instagram account and updating it regularly is pretty important. We touched on some ways to grow your Instagram following last month, but this month we’re focussing on the world of hashtags and how you can use them to boost your following, increase engagement, and get your photos in front of the right audience.

Instagram feed of photography packaging
 

With 600 million active Instagram users per month it’s easy to get lost in a sea of beautifully filtered snaps. Without Hashtags, your photos are only going to be seen by your current followers, and even then, you might be buried so low in their feed that they don’t even manage to scroll to them.

Instagram changed their algorithm a while back, it now shows your feed in the order it thinks you want to see it, rather than being chronological. But Hashtags are still shown in chronological order, making them the ideal way to get your photos noticed. In a nutshell, hashtags are a way to tag your photo to make it appear in a pocket of other photos that have used the same tag, so it’s easy for other users to find images of a similar interest.

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer based in the UK and you’ve taken a snap of our gorgeous photography packaging, you can tag your photos with #ukwedding – by clicking that hashtag you’ll then be able to see all the other photos in the same group.

You’re allowed up to 30 hashtags per photo, so we thought we’d group together some of the best and most popular hashtags for you to try on your next post!

Best Wedding Hashtags

#wedding #weddings #weddingphotographer #weddingphotography #weddingplans #weddingplanning #weddinginspiration #ukwedding #weddingidea #weddingideas #weddingphoto #weddingday #weddingfun #justmarried

 

Best Travel Hashtags

#travel #travelling #travelgram #travelphotography #travelblogger #travelersnotebook #travels #travelpic #travelics #travelbug #travelmore #holiday #travelblog #travellife #traveldiary #travelphoto #travelstagram

 

Best Pet Hashtags

#pets #petsofinstagram #petsagram #petstagram #petsofinsta #catsofinstagram #catstagram #catslover #catsagram #catsanddogs #cats #cat #dogs #dog #dogsofinstagram #dogsofinsta #dogstagram #dogsandpals #dogslover #dogselfie

 

Best Food Hashtags

#food #foodie #foodstyle #foodnetwork #foodprep #foodblogger #foodbloggers #foodstagram #foodbeast #foodandwine #foodforlife #foodinspo #foodstyling #foodshare #foodphoto #foodpassion #eatclean #instafeast #whatiate

 

Best Home Hashtags

#home #homedecor #homesweethome #homegoods #homestyling #homestyle #homeinspiration #homeinspo #homeliving #homeidea #homeideas #interior #interiordesign #interiors #interiordetails #interiorstyling #interior4all

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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.

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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!

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How Power Banks Can Help You in 2017

Posted by USB2U on 14th February 2017 | Permalink

We wrote an article last year explaining the difference in power bank sizes, and our handy infographic helped explain the difference between mAh sizes and what they can be used for. We’re now looking at the benefits of Power Banks and how they can help your business in 2017.

promotional power bank

With more and more promotional products being handed out to customers, the focus has now turned to the value of the product itself. According to recent research, a mass produced low value item actually denigrates your brand, with customers less likely to remember you as it fails to bring in the ‘wow’ factor amongst a sea of competitors. A high value product is said to speak volumes about how much you’re willing to invest in your own business, as well as the value you place on a relationship with your customers.

 

A higher value promotional product like a power bank will stand the test of time, will be used regularly (everyone needs to charge their phone!), and will increase brand visibility. The user is effectively becoming an advocate for your brand, showcasing to those around them that they’re happy to use your product.

 

One of the biggest trends for promotional products in 2017 is technology with a particular focus on power banks. Here’s some great stats we’ve found that show just how important a promotional power bank can be.

 

87% of consumers state they would keep a promotional power bank due to it’s usefulness.

60% of consumers said they’d do business with a company that gave them a power bank.

 

With this in mind, why not check our our fantastic range of promotional power banks? With 24 hour express service available, there’s bound to be something that suits your brand!

 

 

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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.

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