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SOI 2021: Health & Safety Items Dominate Product List

The mix of items sold in 2020 may prove to be a one-time curiosity.

It will be remembered as the year that promotional products companies became medical supply depots. We already knew that PPE was huge in 2020, but the data from our State of the Industry report confirms it. Yes, as an individual product, T-shirts remained the most popular item sold. But taken all together (the masks, hand sanitizer, face shields, thermometers, touchless keys and dozens of other previously unfamiliar wares), health and safety products accounted for over a quarter of all products sold – a total of $5.3 billion. Those sales certainly ate into the market share of dozens of other product categories, though judging by the first-half returns of 2021, those losses seem temporary. Nonetheless, the remarkable pivot by distributors and suppliers saved lives, jobs and sales.

Category With Largest Gain

Health & Safety

Category With Largest Decline

T-Shirts