Fitness, Health and Wellness: Promotional Products Trends for 2021
In the blink of an eye, it’s 2021. Last year went a lot differently than planned, but one thing we can count on is that a new year brings new goals. For many, it’s a fresh start, a time to refocus on fitness, health and wellness. We might not all have the same goals in this area, but whether you choose to concentrate on working out more frequently, trying to take a few more steps every day or even just doing more of the things that make you happy (self-care is important, you guys), 2021 will be a new and, hopefully, better year.
As we get into 2021, let’s look back at some of the major fitness, health and wellness trends we saw last year and consider how those will apply in the promotional products space.
WFH (Workout From Home)
COVID-19 forced many businesses to temporarily shut down, with many resuming only on a limited basis. Gyms and fitness-based businesses were some of the most impacted. With gym memberships on hold, end-users had to get creative. A few months ago, if you went to Target or Walmart, you probably noticed that most free weights and fitness items were sold out and in high demand. Even in the promo world, suppliers saw a similar draw to fitness items for home use.
“We’ve certainly seen an uptick in health and wellness sales, something that has been driven organically by the work-from-home phenomenon,” said Daniel Baker, brand manager for BCG Creations, Beacon Promotions and Debco, all HPG brands. “In a depressed market, these are a category of growth, making it all the more significant.”
With employees working remotely—and that trend continuing—fitness, health and wellness items should see continued demand.
“Debco’s Stay Fit Kit is a new product that has done particularly well, with companies looking to send a thoughtful gift to employees who may have lost access to their corporate or private health club facilities,” Baker added. “Part of that kit that has been hot at both Debco and Beacon is the Krienes Cooling Towel. It’s a great budget buy, and a perfect soft-entry point for companies looking to explore a health and wellness program.”
For remote workers, it’s easy for the lines between work and home to become blurred, with many people finding it difficult to switch from one to the other. Setting aside time to work out from home can certainly help. That presents a lot of opportunities for businesses looking to use promotional fitness and health products, but they need to find ways to get these items into end-users’ hands.
Tommy Leung, director of product development for Spector & Co., Montreal, said that the ability to drop shipping has been a godsend here, with many suppliers, Spector & Co. included, now able to drop ship directly to peoples’ homes. Those options are only expanding as we go along.
“Different varieties of drop-ship packaging also allow [an] end-user to customize the kind and number of items to be included in the box,” Leung said.
Nowadays, a normal routine for entering a store goes something like this: Put on a mask, sanitize hands, enter, find and purchase items, sanitize hands and leave. At this point, hand sanitizer is just as essential as your keys and wallet. But, what about other items you might not normally think about sanitizing, like cell phones? At Ariel Premium Supply, St. Louis, Mo., sanitizing phone cases and other health-focused items were a huge hit this year.
“Our UV-C Sanitizer Case and No-Touch Tools are very popular,” said Yuhling Lu, vice president of Ariel Premium Supply. “While we had tremendous success with disposable-type masks earlier in the year, demand today is now in cloth masks. Ariel offers seven different styles, including two children’s sizes."
Leung also said demand for health and safety items is up overall, with noticeable demand for masks designed specifically for workouts and other physical activity.
“Wearing [a] mask has become a major change of lifestyle, but applying this protocol when doing workouts isn’t easy,” he said. “So choosing [the] right material used for making [a] mask is essential—[think] light-weight, soft/comfortable, breathable, fit-adjustable, etc. Eco-friendly is ideal, such as bamboo modified rayon.”
These products remain popular, but if you’re selling them, use caution and do your homework. Depending on the intended end-use, some fitness, health and wellness items are subject to regulations.
“The biggest challenge we are experiencing with health products are the government regulations applied to them, such as filtration specs for disposable masks and formula compositions for hand sanitizers,” said Lu.
It’s hard to pinpoint one specific market that fitness, health and wellness promo products are popular in, especially because they could truly work just about anywhere, according to both Lu and Baker.
“We are seeing all kinds of industries buying these products for larger distribution,” said Lu. “For example, communities, local governments or local organizations buy for residents, or health organizations buy to create awareness.”
“Professional services firms are particularly interested in these products—law offices, accounting and consultancy services to name a few,” said Baker. “Really, any company that correlates health and wellness with employee retention and performance, particularly at a time when their own in-office facilities may have been temporarily shuttered.”