The German promotional products industry has recovered from the recession at record speed. After the sharp decline in the 2009 crisis year, the German Association of the Promotional Products Industry (Gesamtverband der Werbeartikelwirtschaft – GWW) records total industry sales of 3.43 billion euro for last year. From the previous figure of 2.97 billion euro (2009) earnings have again risen above the pre-crisis level of 2008, when promotional products with a total value of 3.21 billion euro were sold.

This is evident from the latest GWW industry monitor, which was presented by the association in Düsseldorf at the opening of PSI. The results show Germany to be one of the current pacesetters in the international promotional products market. All over Europe the promotional products industry also profits from the economic recovery, however.   

PSI recovers to attain pre-crisis figures

This was also evident at this year’s PSI: “The skies above the European promotional products industry are brightening, even if not all the clouds have disappeared“, is the conclusion PSI Director Michael Freter’s draws at the close of Europe’s largest trade fair for the promotional products industry. Exhibitors recorded a healthy growth in orders from Germany as well as a noticeable upturn in demand from abroad. With 849 exhibitors, PSI almost attained pre-crisis figures (875 exhibitors). As far as visitor numbers are concerned, PSI exceeded last year’s result (16,464). With a total of 17,122 PSI promotional products distributors, the trade fair did not reach the two previous records, but PSI Director Freter was still very satisfied: “To expect to move from recession to a new record would have been unrealistic. Nevertheless, the trend is definitely upwards”. Currently, all signs indicate that the promotional products market will also continue to benefit from the economic recovery.

Business barometer pointing upwards

The industry index compiled annually by an independent market research institute in a representative survey and presented at the time of PSI confirms this. Here again it is evident that the mood regarding future economic developments has become noticeably brighter compared to last year. 69.5 percent of the companies from Germany that were interviewed expect a “strong increase” or at least a “slight increase“ (2010: 54.1%); 18.6 percent (2010: 28.9%) expect business to “remain stable“ and only 6.6 percent of the companies (14.5%) expect business in the industry to deteriorate. Assumptions among German companies are noticeably more positive than on the international level. Here, instead of the 69.5 percent figure among German companies, only 55.2 percent of those interviewed expected business to pick up significantly. Yet even here the tendency is noticeably more positive compared to last year. A year ago, a mere 44.8 of those interviewed expected business in the industry to pick up.

High order levels create optimism

The most visible indicator of this new optimism was the level of orders placed at this year’s PSI:  Close to 40 percent of promotional products distributors already placed orders with a value exceeding 100,000 euro during the trade fair, almost ten percent ordered merchandise with a total value of more than one million euro. Most popular among the ordering companies this year were again textiles, bags and luggage, stationery and leather goods, watches and jewellery as well as electronic products. The continuing trend towards sustainable “green products”, with the spectrum meanwhile ranging from ecologically produced T-shirts to biodegradable felt bags, is unmistakeable.

Promotional products are the third force in the advertising market: GWW demands equal tax status

“Promotional products maintain an impressive position as the third force in the advertising market“, says GWW chairman Patrick Politze. Compared to general economic developments and most other forms of advertising, the growth of the promotional products industry was thus clearly over-proportional. Promotional products are the advertising medium most frequently used especially by small and medium-sized companies. Politics should finally take note of this fact: “The maximum tax deductible amount for promotional products – with an unchanged upper limit of 35 euro – is an anachronistic fetter which must be abolished“, Patrick Politze says. One in five customers incorporating promotional products in his marketing activities makes less use of them as a result of the existing laws and their sometimes arbitrary interpretation, and 17% would make greater use of high-quality promotional products in their communication given a higher exemption limit, according to a recent study commissioned by the GWW and conducted by the Cologne Institute for Trade Research (IfH).

The 50th PSI will take place from 11 to 13 January 2012 in Düsseldorf.