Tech's Big Finish to 2021

As clients look to spend towards the end of the year, technology could be high on the agenda, says Matt Pluckrose

This September our industry is optimistically looking forward to getting back to business with events, meetings, promotional merchandise and hopefully profit moving back to 2019 levels.

Promotional technology is rising again and becoming part of the promotional tool kit of many marketing professionals, but what will be the tech trends for the balance of 2021?

During this article we will look at a few areas of growth and some ideas to keep your eyes on and to add to your client’s next presentation when the request is “what’s new and techy?”

Greener tech

Sustainable products will remain at the top of many shopping lists with different materials helping to make a difference such as wheat, coffee, RPET, cork, and bamboo to name a few materials that product shells will be made from.

Within this category charging cables will return to the dominant sales position as buyers turn away from lithium battery powered power banks given the increasing difficulty in transporting them across borders.

Leading the charge

Speed will become an increasingly attractive feature in tech especially the speed at which consumers can charge, connect and stream as 5G starts to become the norm. This change to a faster pace of digital lifestyle will mean buyers want everything to be faster.

Charging your devices is the dominant use for promotional technology and wireless chargers particularly that can charge at 20W, 30W and even upto 60W will become the norm. Along way from the very basic 5W chargers we were all selling only three years ago.

Chargers themselves will also become lighter and hence more stylish with the adoption of GaN (gallium nitride) materials which produce less heat and allow designers to produce more powerful and smaller chargers that can easily handle the latest speed and power of USBC PD(power delivery).

In your ear

The next area which will continue to grow is TWS (true wireless earbuds) often described as ‘Air Pod-style’. These little music wonders are set to account for 52% of the headphone market by the end of 2021 with some 56% growth this year and more than 290 million units set to be sold globally.

The trends to watch within this category will be ANC (active noise cancelling) and smart assistant compatibility with systems like Alexa or Siri. It’s definitely an area to consider when making Christmas gift suggestions for your clients’ staff briefs.


This last year has seen a huge rise in the demand for lifestyle gifts. Companies have been spending their budgets on gifts to keep their staff motivated and their spirits up while working from home through the pandemic. This will continue and demand for smart lifestyle gifts this Christmas will benefit many product sectors of the overall market.

Tech ideas that will be popular will include LED mood lamps, bedside alarm clocks, and design led wireless speakers. Many of these feature a second use such as wireless charging, sound or even double as a wine cooler.

Coupled to this will be the demand for high street brands to reward and motivate colleagues, clients and even suppliers. Within this area look out for A-list brands that make amazing gifts such as Bluetooth speakers (JBL, Sony, Blaupunkt, Bose), smart speakers (Alexa, Apple Pod), and high end Bluetooth headphones (Beats, Philips, Apple, Sony).

These all make amazing gifts at Christmas and can often be branded with a bespoke four-colour sleeves around the gift packaging. as often the product does not have much space to print a logo or the product’s materials don’t support ink adhesion.

Fir for business

Health remains an important aspect of promo tech and given the challenges faced by everyone this last year, staying fit will be important to many. Within this area fitness trackers are the item to continue to watch and trends recently are that marketers and buyers with HR departments are looking to brands such as Fitbit, Garmin and of course AppleWatch.

For lower budgets there are also many generic brands that offer great value for money and the client’s logo can be more prominent on the device itself than the branded equivalents.

Matt Pluckrose is managing director of Desktop Ideas