Gesamtverband der Werbeartikel-Wirtschaft (GWW), the association representing the German promotional products industry, held a press conference this week at the PSI Show in Dusseldorf on the results of its survey of the market’s performance in the country. For the first time, GWW reports the industry’s annual sales have set a new record, reaching €3.504 billion ($4.22 billion) in the 2017 financial year.

GWW’s survey also found that one in five businesses plan to increase their investment in promotional products. Frank Dangmann, GWW chairman, says, “Increased investment by enterprises in promotional items is documented by the significant popularity of our form of advertising. Enterprises increasingly know how to appreciate the many benefits of a promotional item, and can see for themselves the lasting promotional effect as well as the positive impact on the enterprise's image at what is ultimately an excellent price-to-performance ratio.”

The study examined surveyed businesses in four categories—micro enterprises (up to nine employees), small enterprises (10 to 49 employees), medium-sized enterprises (50 to 249 employees) and large enterprises (250-plus employees). Almost every large business and 75 percent of all medium-sized businesses use promotional items for communicating with their customers. One in three micro, small and large businesses sets aside up to 20 percent of their advertising spending for promotional items, and one in two of medium-sized businesses do the same. Furthermore, 57 percent of micro-businesses, 24 percent of small ones, seven percent of medium ones, and 10 percent of large businesses allocate more than 20 percent of their advertising spending to promotional products.

GWW also reports that one in three of those surveyed say that spending on promotional items in their business has increased over the past five years, and one in five anticipate additional spending increases.

Roughly one third of business owners surveyed say that regulatory compliance influences the use of promotional products. That share rises to almost 50 percent among the largest businesses. GWW reports that incorrectly interpreted regulations are hindering the industry in Germany. Dangmann says, “I am convinced that with our compliance guidelines published in 2017, we have made a first major step in the right direction. This allows us to convincingly rebut the most frequent arguments of overcautious compliance officers. It is also for us to convince non-users of promotional items. We need to show these enterprises enhanced evidence of impact and efficiency, as well as examples of successful practice, and thus bring them round to our way of advertising."

Dangmann concluded the press conference by noting that the survey supports the last year’s study findings about the effects of advertising. The study, conducted by DIMA Market Research on behalf of GWW, identified promotional products as a more popular communication channel than online advertising and specialist media. He adds, “Once again, the findings of the current study provide convincing proof that promotional items are among the most cost-efficient advertising media.”