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The Future of Promotional Products in a Post-COVID-19 World

David Nicholson, President of PCNA, joined us for one of our most highly-anticipated sessions where he shared his thoughts on the future of the industry. Intentionally moving away from the topic of PPE, he focused on the various economic and psychological impacts we are certain to face long after COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the government has already spent 30% more in stimulus funds than throughout the entirety of the last recession. With fear of a potential second wave coming, more than 35 million Americans are already unemployed with that number expected to grow. Testing is currently the primary challenge for the U.S., with our testing capacity being significantly lower than other countries that have been able to safely begin reopening.

On the hot topic of the “new normal”, David listed a few areas where he sees larger shifts coming in both personal and professional conduct. The psychology behind consumer choice before COVID-19 focused heavily on efficiency and cost. After COVID-19, David sees resilience and flexibility being key factors in consumer decision-making.  He thinks we will also see the decline of globalization, both due to the ongoing geo-political battle heightened over the past few months and due to an increased desire for self-sufficiency and dependence, especially in the production of goods. High risk, high reward? Maybe no longer, as safety comes to the forefront in regard to all interactions a consumer has with goods and services. 

Throughout REBOUND-20, we have been featuring our Partners prior to the start of each session and showcasing the ways that they have stepped up to help others during the pandemic. David urges companies that haven’t already to think about what they’re doing to assist others during this crisis by donating money, time, or both. Whether it be helping their employees, customers, communities, etc., he believes any company that has a solid answer to the question, “How did you help?” will be in a good position moving forward.

While we are uncertain what lies ahead, David shared his thoughts on the future of the promotional product industry. It’s important to keep consumer needs and wants at the forefront of selling, and focus on what that may look like in the months and years to come. Nobody is certain what tomorrow brings, but maintaining the flexibility and resilience we have become accustomed to while trying to do more good are important pieces to hang on to.