Top Promotional Products of 2021

(So far!)

As the country returns to a state of normality, it’s time to take a look at what promotional products have been favoured so far in 2021, and what changes the rest of the year holds.

We’ll highlight our top trending product ranges and which products stand out from each of those ranges.

1. Custom Printed Bags

Branded bags have been the UK’s top enquired promotional product of 2021. Their diversity in shape, size and practicality makes them one of the most useful pieces of merchandise that can be reused and reseen for years to come.

With more events happening in person, a branded bag is perfect for handing out branded gifts and informational materials about your company. Provide a customer with something to carry as well as make the rest of their visit easier by having a place to store all of their promotional merchandise.

Promtoional Cotton Shoppers & Totes

There may be no surprise that our best seller of 2021, so far, has been the natural cotton shopper bags. With companies making the switch from single-use plastics, cotton shoppers are perfect, durable alternatives. At Sycal, we have unbleached natural cotton, organic cotton, recycled cotton and even antimicrobial cotton shoppers, all of which can be personalised with your logo or marketing message.

Pheebs 210 g/m recycled tote bag
5oz Antimicrobial Cotton Bag
branded natural 5ox shopper

Custom Printed Paper Bags

Promotional branded paper bags are an eco-conscious choice that works well for giveaways and within the retail environment. With a range of colours and sizes available, you can print onto our paper bags with a full-colour digital print or a singular colour print. The twisted paper handles provide more stability when carrying heavier items inside and the fold-up style of the bag means they can be stored and transported easily. The perfect promotional merchandise option to get eyes on your logo, wherever your customers go.

Brunswick White Small

2. Custom Printed Parasols

Although the weather in the UK has had its ups and downs this year, we’ve certainly noticed the increasing demand for custom branded parasols. The restrictions during the first half of the year meant many venues had to host seating outside, in turn, protection was needed.

We can take note from our European friends with the Alfresco dining experience we all love when travelling abroad. Recent articles have reported that outdoor dining will become a permanent fixture in UK restaurants, pubs and high streets. In fact, pavement licences have been extended by 12 months to help businesses recover.

As we’re still in the peak of summer with the school holidays only just beginning, there’s no better time to make the most of the good weather and extending your business outdoors. There’s no better time for custom printed parasols.

3. Custom Branded Clothing & Apparel

As we return back to the office and start attending events in person, it’s time to step out of our PJs and back into everyday clothing and branded uniforms. 1/4 of our orders this year have been branded clothing and apparel items.

Custom Printed T-shirts

Promotional printed t-shirts are 2021’s most popular item of promotional clothing with over two billion sold, worldwide. They are the first port of call for a wearable promotional item; not only for the large print area but because it’s hard to miss your message when wearing it out and about.

Branded t-shirts can be used as uniforms at events, to promote a cause, everyday casual wear as well as being low-cost and practical giveaway items. Our range provides promotional t-shirts for women, men and children in a range of sizes, cuts, colours and materials.

Azurite short sleeve men's GOTS organic t-shirt

Custom Printed and Embroidered Caps

Great for keeping your head cool, protecting your face from the sun or wearing as part of your uniform; personalised caps are versatile for their uses. Whether you’re wearing it for sports, attending an outdoor event or wearing it for casual use; our branded caps come in a range of colours to suit your company.

Available in both adults and kid sizes our cotton caps can be branded on the front, side, back and along the visor giving you plenty of choice on how to style your own cap.

Our most popular is the standard 5-panel cap with a baseball visor. These come in 12 colours and are made from 100% cotton. However, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative then our Impact recycled cotton cap includes AWARE Tracer technology to fully track the sustainability of your headwear.

branded Feniks 5 panel cap

4. Custom Branded Drinkware

Promotional drinkware interest has increased in growth compared to last year, with a focus mainly on sports bottles and ceramic mugs. The reusability and practicality of custom branded drinkware makes it an extremely appealing promotional product and even cost-effective. In our range, you’ll find drinkware with 360° branding capabilities, Pantone matching and eco-friendly plastic-free options.

Custome vacuum insulated bottles

Printed insulated bottles are all year round winners, keeping your drinks cool in the summer and hot in the winter. There’s no time of year or occasion where a vacuum bottle doesn’t come in handy. Available in a range of colours, sizes and styles to perfectly suit your brand’s style.

The sport bottle style has been our most popular seller, especially the Vasa insulated bottle. However, we also offer tumblers, flasks and mugs with insulating capabilities. As most of these bottles are made with aluminium or copper they’re also a much more eco-friendly choice compared to plastic.

promotional Vasa copper vacuum insulated sport bottle
capella metal bottle

Custom Printed Sports bottles

During the lockdown, reusable sports bottles came in hand as many of us took to the outside for our daily exercise. With companies encouraging exercising and working at home, sports bottles saw an incline especially delivered in wellbeing gift packs.

Our two top seller sizes were 650ml and 750ml bottles, specifically the Tritan range and Evelyn bottle. A majority of our sports bottles have a variety of colourways to match your branding as well as wrap printing to push your promotion from every angle.

branded evelyn water bottle

Promotional Branded Ceramic Mugs

The classic ceramic mug was actually the second best selling promotional product of 2021, with so many of us working from home it was the ideal time to send a branded mug for the home office. You can never have too many mugs in the kitchen cupboard.

With bacteria and viruses being at the forefront of everyone’s mind, we even began to offer antimicrobial technology on our Cambridge mug. Available in 12 different colours from traditional white to midnight blue.

branded cambridge mug

5. Branded Office & Stationery

Although office space hasn’t seen much use over the last year, home offices have become the new normal. Those that have never worked from home before needed to be kitted out with all the standard stationery supplies. Even now with many returning to the office for work, new stationery makes a great gift for a fresh start.


One of the most popular stationery items we’ve printed this year is branded notebooks. In 2020 worldwide notebook sales rose to 200.5 million shipped worldwide compared to only 163.7 million in 2019. 2021 has only seen that number ever-increasing, already reaching 216.8 million.

The A5 mole notebook was our most requested product. With 80 lined sheets of paper, an elastic closure, pen loop and bookmark; the A5 mole can be individually personalised with a clients or colleagues name. On top of that, this notebook has one of the largest ranges of colours available; a total of 23 to choose from.

Another A5 notebook we’ve seen requested is the Intimo, a recycled wire-bound notebook with a pen. Not only is this notebook an eco-friendly option and comes with a pen, but it’s also low cost and great if you’re looking for an eco option on a budget.

coloured a5 notebooks branded
branded A5 Intimo Notebook

Custom Branded Pencils

Have you ever found yourself with a stole away Ikea pencil? More than 800 million people visited Ikea last year and would have come into contact with their famous little pencil. Their brand is easy to recall by just customising a simplistic, low costing pencil; and your brand can follow suit.

The Carpenter’s Pencil has been a favourite this year and not just tradesmen ordered it! Available in a range of colours these promotional pencils are perfect as giveaway items and practical office stationery.

branded carpenter pencils

Custom Printed Pens

Our most popular pen this year has been the Shanghai Classic, and the name defines that classic standout style of many promotional pens. Available in a range of colours with a soft touch curvy grip to fit comfortably in your hand.

The Curvy Ballpoint is the same classic style pen but with a stylus on top and is available in an ever wider range of colours. For even further styles the Curvy can be made with a frosted or metal barrel. If the stylus isn’t practical enough in the office, switch the top for a highlighter instead.

Each pen can be branded on the barrel alongside the clip, however, the Curvy just takes the lead with a 15mm larger print area down the entire barrel.

Worthy Mentions

If this list still hasn’t given you any inspiration then here are three little extra promotional products. They didn’t make it into the top 5 but they certainly didn’t go unnoticed and unrequested.

  1. During the last couple of months. With university open days, exhibitions and trade shows getting the green light, custom branded tablecloth have slowly been increasing in popularity. Create eye catching tablecloths to not only make your presentation look professional but catch the eye’s of passers-by.
  2. Lots of staff are returning back to the office on the daily commute. Cars have been going unloved and now need to freshen up for the drive with custom airfreshners. Choose from many fruity smells and get your brand on the go.
  3. Pride events and NHS appreciation contributed to many people showing their support this year with window vinyl stickers. Custom printed vinyls can include your logo, message or artwork and showcase your brand to the outside world.
branded Polyester Tablecloth with Full-Bleed Dye Sublimation

If you’d like to learn more about using promotional merchandise to boost your brand image in the second half of 2021, or look at what corporate gifts will be trending, speak to a member of our team today. Call us on 01234 841741, or email us on, we’re happy to help.