The Top 10 Buyers of Promotional Products

You see promotional products everywhere. That pen you use to sign your credit card receipt. The drink coaster at your local pub. The notepad in your hotel room. The coffee mugs at your favorite diner. Those are all promotional items.

This was a $20B dollar industry last year. So who’s buying them? Below you’ll find the top 10 buyers. If your business falls within one of the top 10 industries below and you’re NOT using promotional items to promote your business, you’re likely getting out-marketed by your competitors.

You see promotional products everywhere because they are useful, effective, and essential to strengthening company brands.

Every time you use a company branded item, their logo is “branded” into your brain. That company is brought to the forefront of your brain. While you may not need the products or services of that company at that moment, when you eventually do need them, you’ll most likely think of them before you think about their competitors who didn’t give you a useful promotional item.

So Who’s Buying Promotional items?

Top 10 Buyers of Promotional Products

It seems like everyone is buying them. The most successful businesses certainly are. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 industries who have embraced the effectiveness of promotional products. 

1. Education

Education Industry

This includes schools, universities, seminars, and training programs. The education sector understands that promotional items can not only enhance the learning experience but also they can help improve the perspective of higher education with potential students who may not have originally given their school much thought. A few uses include back-to-school campaigns, recruiting, school spirit items, promotion of school programs, and new student welcome gifts.

2. Financial

Banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, loan companies, brokerage and investment firms, and insurance agencies all fit into this category. Since they have all the money, the only surprise of them being number two on the list is why they aren’t number one. The competition in this industry is extremely cut-throat. It’s essential for these companies to connect with their potential clients on an emotional level and establish trust. There’s no better way than through the use of promotional items.

3. Health Care

Health Care Industry

This industry has exploded over the last few decades. With the epidemic of unhealthy Americans, incidents of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many chronic conditions have significantly increased. This has created extreme demand for more healthcare professionals and subsequently caused stiff competition among those within this industry. This category includes hospitals, clinics, laboratories, nursing homes, home health agencies, emergency medical services (EMS), medical equipment and supply companies, and imaging and diagnostic facilities. With so many new health care facilities popping up to meet patient demands, they all want to grasp a bigger piece of the local market share. By using promotional items, they help their patients and potential patients remember their facilities.

4. Non-Profit Organizations


There are over 1.5 million registered non-profit organizations in the U.S. Your city or town likely has hundreds of them. So how do they compete with each other to get donors? Giving promotional items to thank their donors is one way to develop stronger relationships by showing appreciation. Promotional items can also be very effective for awareness campaigns for non-profits. Wearables such as t-shirts, hats, bracelets, buttons, and temporary tattoos are among some of the most popular items for non-profits.

5. Construction

Construction Companies

Building contractors, engineering firms, specialty trade contractors, electrical contractors, plumbers, roadway construction companies, utility contractors, and all others in the trade of construction fit within this sector. Promotional items are used by these companies to promote their services to new clients. Within this industry, there are big ticket jobs on the line, so the timely use of a branded product can tip the scale in their favor to landing a huge contract.

6. Government

Government Agencies

The U.S. Government includes public offices for cities and counties, state government agencies, federal programs, political candidates, and awareness campaigns. They heavily rely on promotional items to get their message out to the citizens. Political candidates have really embraced the power of promotional products to promote their campaign. Some of the top products purchased by government agencies include bags, water bottles, insect repellent, and t-shirts.

7. Trade and Professional Associations

Trade and Professional Associations

This sector includes civic clubs, professional organizations such as the National Association of Realtors, the American Medical Association, and the American Bar Association. It also includes trade associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Advertising Federation, National Association of Home Builders, and thousands of others. These associations are typically non-profit, but for the purpose of buying promotional items, they are not included in the non-profit classification above due to their major buying power. Their jobs are to promote and strengthen the outlook for their respective industries.

8. Real Estate Agents

Real Estate Agents and Brokers

With over 2 million real estate agents and more than 86,000 brokerage firms in the U.S., standing out from other agents is a top priority. It’s not uncommon for a small town to have hundreds of agents and large towns to have thousands of agents. Promotional products can help keep you at the top of the minds of home buyers and sellers. Effective strategies among Realtors include premium housewarming gifts after a home purchase and thank you gifts after closing a sale. Other custom printed items purchased by real estate agents includes yard signs, key chains, calendars, kitchen-related items such as refrigerator magnets, chip clips, letter openers, and household tools.

9. Automotive Industry

Automotive Industry

Included in this segment are automobile manufacturers, auto dealerships, and auto parts suppliers. Auto repair shops, gas stations, and other auto maintenance companies are not included in this category. The automotive industry represents nearly 1 trillion dollars in sales of new vehicles in 2016. Manufacturers and dealerships are each trying to get a bigger piece of that giant pie, and they are effectively using promotional items to do it. Nearly every time you buy a new car, you receive a promotional item with the dealership name or the vehicle manufacturer’s logo on it. Common purchases include key chains, window sun shades, USB phone chargers, ice scrapers, emergency auto kits, travel mugs, license plate frames, and car coasters.

10. Professionals

Professionals - Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Consultants, Advertising Executives

This is a large category which includes trained and educated professionals such as doctors, attorneys, architects, CPAs, advertising agencies, scientists and researchers, designers, engineers, and more. With so many competing professionals in most areas, promotional products offer a great way to advertise your services to your prospects. There are thousands of products you can brand with your logo that represent your profession.

If you are not already utilizing the effectiveness of promotional products to advertise your business, you are missing out on the most effective means of getting your name out. If your business or occupation fall into any of these top 10 categories listed above, it’s even more critical you step up your game to outdo your competition.

You can shop over 100,000 promotional items online here. If you need suggestions, our experienced agents are here to help you find the right products to make you stand out.

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