In this article, I’ll try to summarise a few of the possible trends of the year 2014 regarding the branded USB sticks. 2013 was a very good year for these promotional items. But as the sales of CDs and DVDs for this sector was declining and companies relaying their business around these products were dangerously exposed, how will the branded USB sticks vendors do?
As I said before, the promotional sector of CDs and DVDs is declining and will still decline, leaving many companies perilously exposed. Let’s take into consideration that now, the considered old fashioned or inconvenient or plain boring CDs or DVDs, were the top preferred data storage devices. In addition to this, today, laptops, notebooks and even PCs often come without a built-in CD or DVD player, so you can imagine the direction of the IT market.
Another trend is getting more and more popularity and the impact will be felt more in personal data market compared to the commercial sector. The cloud based data and file sharing solutions. As the popularity will increase for backups onto a cloud based storage solution which can be accessed from anywhere, anytime and on any device the sales for personal USB memory sticks will most likely drop.
Also, most likely, the prices of the thumb drives will still fall and in the promotional sector, the USB flash drive’s capacity will increase to 2GB-4GB or even more, and in the personal sector, these capacities will most likely increase to 16GB-64GB.
The small memory flash drives, preferred by some companies, have now disappeared, like the 128MB, the 256MB and the 512MB, due to the fact that manufacturers consider them uneconomical. One can only find them as rejected 2GB chips with at least 128MB functional. But would want to purchase a factory failed memory? I would expect to see even more branded USB memory sticks uploaded with brochures or other software, as promotional products at different events or marketing campaigns, as there are more and more companies that supplies them and the competition is increasing. This can also relate to the price fall of the thumb drives, trend that will still continue.
In 2014, I will not be surprised to see more designs, shapes and styles of USB flash drives, as in 2013 even some USB badges and buttons were launched, products that changed the traditional badge sector.
On the other hand, to generate more income, a creative way of delivering their portfolios, the professional and wedding photographers will use more often printed or engraved thumb drives.
Even though USB 3.0 technology has higher read and write efficiency it is being implemented on most new devices, my belief is that USB 2.0 will still dominate the market, at least for a while. Even thou the products using USB 3.0 have more benefits and the transition form USB 1.0 to USB 2.0 happened very fast, the sales for USB 3.0 devices have not increased exponentially.
Another factor to take into consideration is that more companies will desire and purchase fully customised branded USB sticks which deliver a much greater customer impact than the regular printed USB flash drive. This will generate a fall in set-up costs and lead times and, of course, lower prices.
At this time, only a few companies that purchase branded USB sticks are also considering the pre-loaded data service that the manufacturers offer, but most of the times this happens because either the data is not ready or the people in charge do not see the benefit to have their promotional materials uploaded on their USB flash drives. But this will change in the near future as the data pre-loading will become the norm.
A last trend I’d like to put under you supervision is the last minute ordering. There will always be in the market a desire to gear up, due to a failure in planning promotional activities, or just to come with something new, to offer a fast product delivery service. In my opinion, there will be an increase demand of printed or engraved USB memory sticks in as little as 24 hours.