The Future of PPE & Promo

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Ever since COVID-19 hit the United States, PPE (personal protective equipment) became some of the most sought-after products in the promo industry. Face coverings, hand sanitizer, face shields, protective barriers and informative signage became top-selling products. Now that a new year has started, industry experts are trying to determine whether this trend will continue. Here’s what you can expect from the future of PPE and promo.

Promo With A Purpose
Promo has always had a purpose, but this might be the first time that it has also become protective. Masks rose to the top of ESP searches in April, and have been one of the most searched for products ever since. Once face coverings rose in popularity, suppliers have been working diligently to create new designs that can be branded and, more importantly, improve protection. Cloth masks are now evolving to include three-layers instead of the standard two. 

“Research, led by airborne disease transmission expert Linsey Marr, found that a well-fitted three-layer mask with outer layers made of a flexible, tightly woven fabric and an inner layer designed to filter small particles provides at least 75% filtration efficiency from respiratory droplets produced during breathing and speaking,” according to ASI.

How Long Will People Be Wearing Masks?
Vaccines are starting to be given out, but does that mean mask wearing is on its way out? Experts say no. The vaccine will still take many months to be distributed to every person that wants one, but even then masks aren’t going anywhere. It’s predicted that many people will choose to continue wearing them, especially in situations where there are large groups of people, like airports, concerts, sporting events and public transportation.

Besides being protective, many wearers also find masks to be functional fashion. Wearing masks was previously made popular in Eastern Asian countries because they cover one's face when they don’t really want to be seen or noticed, and can even discourage people from starting unwanted conversations. There’s a good chance that this trend will continue in other countries.

Other PPE, like protective barriers, signage and hand sanitizer, will continue to be staples in public spaces, maybe even for years to come. For future events like trade shows, there will most likely be hand sanitizing stations, small capacity limits and signage to help with social distancing.

Benefits Of Branded Face Masks
Besides being protective, face masks can also be used as a key marketing opportunity. Places of business and events can have branded masks on hand for employees and patrons. People will wear them in the moment, but will mostly likely also use them out and about. Face masks are predicted to make 4,235 impressions in their lifetime. That makes them very cost-effective options for building brand awareness, while also providing the protection necessary for places to get back to business.

These are just a few of the predictions for how PPE and promo will continue to work together in the future. It will be interesting to see what other trends will pop up in 2021. If you’re a promo distributor that wants to learn more about AIA and how we can help illuminate your business this year, contact us today