Expected Trends for Branded USB Memory Sticks In 2011

During 2010 branded USB memory sticks cemented their place as one of the top business promotional products and it’s a trend that looks set to continue into 2011 and beyond. The reason for their popularity is simple:

  1. Branded USB Memory Sticks have a high perceived value, they are universally used by all as the method to store and transport data files and they have become a key tool for students and business users alike. Hence as a promotional product any business giving them away knows they are going to be well received and used.
  2. There are a wide range of USB memory sticks available so it’s relatively easy to find a model that will compliment your brand, logo and/or strapline.  Some of the larger models are also large enough to have a print area that will comfortably take a telephone number and/or web address.
  3. The price of branded USB memory sticks continues to fall. They are not quite as cheap as CD’s or DVD’s but the smaller memory size version (128MB) are now available fully branded for less than £2 per stick.
  4. The shell colour of most USB memory stick models can be pantone matched to any colour you want and whilst this typically costs a little more it usually adds only a few pennies to the overall unit cost.
  5. At their heart USB memory sticks are designed to carry data and lots of it. Consequently, many companies are now pre-loading their branded USB memory sticks with sales brochures, press releases, media files, technical support documents, presentations and so on before the USB sticks are distributed – this not only save the money normally associated with getting these items printed but it also saves the transportation costs of moving them around and it makes the USB stick intrinsically more valuable. Pre-loading USB sticks with lots of data is a tedious job and something best left to the professionals who have multi-slot data loading machines. Many suppliers of branded sticks will offer to data load sticks for free to secure an order so shop around.
  6. A well chosen and well printed branded USB memory stick looks fantastic and will be a great advert for any company that gives them away.

Looking forward to 2011 the expected trends for Branded USB Memory Sticks are:

  1. More pre-loading - Increased use of the storage facility on every USB memory stick to pre-load company information and sales material prior to distribution.
  2. Bigger memory sizes - As the price drops its likely that the default memory size of a promotional flash drive will increase from the current 1GB to2GB or 4GB
  3. More bespoke models – During 2010 the costs of fully bespoke USB memory sticks (sticks manufactured in a specific shape, e.g. bottle, car, keyfob, fork lift truck etc.) dropped dramatically. Increased competition amongst the factories that manufacture them coupled with improvements in production techniques are likely to lead to a huge increase in the demand for truly customised USB flash drives.
  4. Faster speeds - The new USB standard; USB 3.0 will see data transfer speeds increase by a factor of X4. First generation USB flash drives using the USB 3.0 (Superspeed) standard are already available but they are a little expensive as a promotional product. Expect prices of USB 3.0 flash drives to fall towards the end of 2011 and for some companies to start using them as a promotional item.
  5. USB Credit Cards – the new ultra thin USB credit cards (only 2mm thick) are likely to become much more popular during 2011 because they are a form factor we are all familiar with and they offer much great scope and flexibility from a branding and printing perspective.
  6. USB Twister Retains its Crown – despite lots of new models and plenty of innovation expect the every popular USB Twister (capless) model to reign supreme again in 2011.

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