Promotional Drinkware: What’s New, What’s Exciting and What’s Selling
Drinkware is one of the most diverse categories in promo, with a huge variety of products and applications. That’s part of the reason it’s also one of the industry’s top-selling categories—everywhere you turn, there are new drinkware needs and opportunities. Take, for example, the restaurant industry, which suddenly needed single-use cups to keep up with the surge in takeout orders during the pandemic.
“Disposable [and] single-use [drinkware] has been the most popular up until the last couple months,” said Cameron Tranter, sales and marketing manager for Tranter Graphics, Syracuse, Ind. “When restaurants were only able to sell carry-out, there was a surge in disposable takeout items, which [we] were ready for. Funny enough, our foam and eco-friendly disposable drinkware items were and still are in high-demand. But, there is still a high demand for reusables by those that feel they are more sanitary and better for the environment.”
We asked Tranter and two other drinkware pros—Michael Van Beck, senior director, promotional product division for Tervis Tumbler Company, North Venice, Fla., and Brandon Brown, vice president of marketing for SnugZ USA, West Jordan, Utah—about additional drinkware trends to look out for, popular decoration techniques and much more. Here, they shared their expertise.
There’s a good chance anyone who works in print and promo has at least one go-to, reusable branded drinkware item (if not more than one). But this isn’t an industry-only phenomenon. It’s safe to say most people have a favorite mug, tumbler or water bottle, which is why branded drinkware gets so many impressions—more than 1,400 for the average item over its lifecycle, according to Van Beck.
Why? Because high-quality drinkware gets used for a long time.
“We are seeing a flight to quality, with buyers willing to pay a little bit more to get ‘the good stuff,’” Van Beck said. “They are also looking for recognized retail brands and realize the value in the association. What’s influencing these trends? Buyers want something that will last and that people will use. Drinkware is now considered a fashion accessory, and with Tervis retail-design expertise applied to promo custom projects, we really provide that wow factor.”
Brown, too, shared why drinkware has so much longevity. “Drinkware really is the perfect gift for any occasion, and odds are, as you read this, you are likely drinking out of or have a promotional item on your desk,” he said. “They are reusable and people hold on [to] them longer, providing more brand recognition. In addition, there are many ways to custom package, add additional items inside and drop ship drinkware to make the gift-giving experience even more special.”
New and Exciting
Drinkware comes in every imaginable shape, size, color and material, so we asked the experts which styles were most popular.
“We introduced our 17 oz. Java Flex in late 2020 and it’s been extremely popular,” Tranter said. “It’s very similar to the Starbucks cup that you see. I must say, there’s nothing really crazy about it. It comes in black or white with matching lids and looks like a standard white or black paper cup, but it works great in protecting your hands from hot beverages and it’s very minimalistic, and that resonates with nearly all of us, as we all know.”
Tervis recently added a high-performance line, consisting of wide-mouth, stainless steel bottles available in 24 oz., 32 oz. and 40 oz. sizes, which have been popular in certain markets.
“They are 18/8 grade stainless steel, double-walled, copper lined and vacuum sealed, keeping liquids cold for up to 84 hours,” said Van Beck. “These are trending in many market segments, especially health care and education where leakproof and a sealed, sanitary drink-through lid are required. Plus, the higher-volume choices are great in situations where there are limited water refill station options.”
Brown noted that “everything in drinkware is exciting and new” when describing products from SnugZ. More specifically, he named the Thermos brand drinkware as a great choice for returning to the office, and the supplier’s new QNCH line, which offers a couple key benefits.
“If you are looking for more of an economical price point, our new QNCH line offers several different options that are perfect for smaller budgets or higher quantities,” Brown said. “We believe that as we all return to work, activities and the upcoming summer season, hydration and water bottles will be king. Our Thermos Hydration bottle is the perfect everyday bottle for those who want to track their water intake all summer long while showing off their style in many new vibrant colors.”
Printing and Personalization
When it comes to drinkware decoration, there’s no shortage of options ranging from standard to cutting edge.
“We offer the tried-and-true one-color screenprint and pad print options that are available everywhere,” said Brown. “But we also have the ability to spice things up with up to a six-color pad print and, coming soon, full-wrap imprints that will definitely take your drinkware product to the next level. We also see that variable data laser imprinting is popular in our stainless tumblers.”
Van Beck noted that Tervis offers four-color process using UV ink printing, which he said “allows for high-resolution, photo-quality images and logos, and up to 360-degree seamless coverage.” This is included with a single low-cost set-up fee. Van Beck has also noticed a rise in demand for variable data printing.
“We also are seeing high demand for variable data (personalization), which we are now offering free of charge across our entire line,” he said. “This provides the personal touch, and it is nice to be able to identify your tumbler or bottle when around others with the same design.”
While Brown and Van Beck are both seeing more personalization, Tranter said he’s noticed a significant decrease in artwork complexity. With many end-buyers operating on reduced marketing budgets during the pandemic, simplified designs and decoration are popular.
“Because our items are mainly disposables and because COVID turned the event/restaurant industries upside down, among others, we saw a huge decline in not only sales but noticed that artwork followed,” he said. “What I mean by that is a lot of the artwork that was coming in was a basic one-, maybe two-color imprint. I think everyone was (and some still are) tightening their budgets, but still understands the importance of their brand.”