Branded USB Memory Sticks – Trends for 2013

The last 12 months have been another strong year for Branded USB Memory Sticks but will 2013 be the year the bubble finally burst on these now ubiquitous products? At USB2U we’ve been selling USB products and most notably USB memory sticks for much of the last 10 years and this is our take on the likely trends for 2013:

  1. Sales of CD’s and DVD’s for use in the promotional sector will continue to decline leaving companies that have historically built their business around the supply of these products perilously exposed. Once at the vanguard of personal data storage CD’s and DVD’s are now considered by many as “old fashioned”, clunky and just boring. New PC’s, particularly ultra-thin laptops and notebooks often don’t have a built in CD or DVD player which reinforces the direction the PC market thinks they are going!
  2. The use of “cloud based” data and file sharing solutions like Dropbox and YouSendIt will continue to gain popularity but their impact will be felt more strongly in the personal data storage market rather than in the commercial sector. For example students today are just as likely to back up their homework onto a cloud based storage solution that they can access from anywhere and on any device rather than store it on a USB stick that could get lost or might not be allowed on the school networked PC’s. As these solutions gain in popularity there is likely to be a drop in the sale of USB flash drives for personal use.
  3. As the price of flash memory continues to fall (albeit with seasonal fluctuations throughout the year) the average size (memory size) of USB stick purchased will increase to 2GB – 4GB in the promotional sector and 16GB – 32GB in the personal sector.
  4. The very small memory options favoured by some companies and organisations (128MB, 256MB and 512MB) will all but disappear in 2013. The reason is simply that it’s uneconomical for the factories to make them anymore and where they are offered they you’ll often find that the what is described as say a 128MB chip is actually a rejected 2GB chip that has failed or bad “sectors” but at least 128MB are “OK” – so, what you end up buying is a rejected 2GB chip. These aren’t always readily available so supply is often limited and of course not everyone is comfortable buying “rejected” memory.
  5. Increased competition in the supply of Branded USB memory sticks coupled with falling prices for flash memory will see prices continue to fall throughout 2013. This in turn will open up all sorts of new markets for their use – expect to see more USB sticks loaded with digital brochures etc. given away at trade shows, press events and conferences.
  6. Lots more new designs, shapes and styles of USB memory sticks will be launched in 2013 including some interesting USB badges and buttons which in turn will shake up the traditional name badge sector.
  7. USB Buttons

    Increasing numbers of professional photographers and wedding photographers will embrace printed and engraved USB memory sticks and use them as a creative way of delivering their clients’ portfolios and as a way of generating new revenue.

  8. USB 3.0 will still be on a “slow-burn” – the undoubted benefits it offers in terms of read/write speeds have simply not translated into increased sales of USB 3.0 products. The move from USB 1.x to USB 2.0 happened almost overnight but USB 3.0 has failed to catch people’s imagination. Expect prices for USB 3.0 flash drives to fall during 2013 but don’t be surprised is USB 2.0 still dominates throughout the year!
  9. More companies will commission fully customised USB sticks in the shape of one of their products or logo – the increased demand will be driven by falling lead times, falling set-up costs and cheaper prices. Custom USB sticks also offer a “wow” factor that is simply not possible to achieve with even the best printed USB stick!
  10. USB Memory Sticks  for Wedding Photographers

    Data pre-loading will become the norm. At the moment only around 25% of companies that buy printed USB memory sticks get data files pre-loaded onto them before they are delivered. Sometimes this is because the data is not ready but often it’s because the company fails to understand the opportunity they have to get their brochures, media files etc. pre-loaded onto their USB sticks free of charge!

  11. Just in time ordering – the demand for printed or engraved USB sticks in as little as 24hrs is likely to increase in 2013. Partly driven by a failure to plan and partly driven by the markets willingness to gear up and offer a “rush service”. At USB2U we hold thousands of USB sticks in stock in the UK and can turn them around (printed, engraved and data-loaded) in 24hrs of less!

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