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Trends for 2024: What Is Driving Buying Decisions Behind Branded Merchandise?

Every year, the most popular trends in fulfillment and merchandise seem to skew ever younger. Or, more accurately, the generation driving trends remains constant, while the rest of us grow older and farther away from what is currently “hip.”

This year, as one might expect, popular trends are being largely determined by social media influencers and the millennial/Gen Z lifestyle. For these consumers, products must look good enough—and be socially conscious enough—to be included as part of their story. For the companies who understand the process, these postings become free advertising to the most coveted demographic.

So what are the trends to look for in 2024? What issues are making these influencers sit up and pay attention while making them feel good about their purchases?

Trends Mood Board 2024

customers purchasing products based on social and environmental impact

Mindful Consumption & Material Innovation

People who practice mindful consumption are very selective about what they buy and how they use it, with the goal of minimizing any negative impact on the environment or society as a whole.

Younger consumers are increasingly concerned about the finite nature of the planet's resources and the corresponding environmental and social implications of their purchasing decisions. To assuage these concerns, they are seeking products that align more with their ecological values. Recognizing this shift, businesses are starting to prioritize sustainability in their operations and product offerings.

Material innovation is of particular importance today. People want to know the environmental backstory of any materials they buy, and manufacturers are focused on developing new or refining existing fabrics to enhance sustainability. For instance, by leveraging eco-friendly or renewable sources such as recycled denim and fabric made from leftover scraps in the factory, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by minimizing waste.

Additionally, biodegradable materials made from plant-based plastics and textiles manufactured from recycled materials produce higher-quality fabrics that help keep the product out of landfills, further reducing their environmental impact.

To finalize the purchasing decision, the influencer demographic prefers to buy from manufacturers with a charitable component to their business. Socially conscious brands like RIPL, FEED, Patriot Coolers, and Econscious, who donate a portion of their profits to charitable causes and organizations, are actively sought out by younger consumers.

By practicing mindful consumption, buyers incent businesses to embrace innovation and develop new, environmentally responsible products that not only benefit the planet but, in the right circumstances, also results in more charitable contributions.

quiet luxury vs bright color trends for the year

Quiet Luxury vs. Eccentric Elegance: Exploring Contrasting Styles

One notable trend for 2024 is the pursuit of quiet luxury and eccentric elegance—two distinct yet related approaches to fashion and, by extension, to life.

Minimalist by nature, quiet luxury exudes sophistication without extravagance, appealing to those who prefer subtle, light, and warm neutral colors that give off a luxury hotel or vacation aesthetic. Conversely, eccentric elegance employs boldness, vibrant colors, and daring combinations to make a statement, attracting those who want to stand out from the crowd with confidence and flair.

These contrasting styles can be captured in stylish materials such as linens and leather, fashioned into items such as notebooks, bags, and water bottles.  Canvas and bamboo or other types of wood are also favored mediums for expressing both understated luxury and bold charm.

Consumers who are exploring the nuances of sophistication in their fashion choices are curating looks that not only reflect their personality and individuality but are influencing the masses. 

cohesive travel product collections

Monochromatic Collections Embrace Simplicity and Sophistication

Another trend that is gaining momentum in 2024 is the popularity of monochromatic collections—items or products that use various shades, tones, and textures within a single-color spectrum to create visually cohesive ensembles.

Inspired by social media influencers, the appeal of monochromatic collections lies in their simplicity. By limiting the palette to a single hue, designers can highlight the purity and elegance of the chosen color with a minimalist approach that lends a sense of sophistication and refinement to popular items such as leather carry-on bags and suitcases.

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The beauty of the monochromatic style is that pieces within a collection coordinate effortlessly, making it easy to mix and match items. Monochromatic styling also caters to a wide range of tastes and uses, from formal to relaxed or everyday wear, making the possibilities endless.

For today’s young consumers, the simplicity and sophistication of monochromatic collections is irresistible.

pops of color in promotional products

Pops of Color Elevate Style

Using “pops” of color or subtle accents of bright patterns to inject a hint of personality and visual interest into clothing or other materials is another trend that is gaining traction in 2024.

In fact, this year, warm, natural tones are more in vogue for adding depth and dimension to an otherwise neutral palette, supplanting bold geometric prints and vibrant splashes of color.

This approach offers endless possibilities for creativity and self-expression, especially when working with an established corporate palette. By adding solid corporate colors to the outside of an item such as a bag or notebook and complementing that decoration with a bright color or pattern on the inside creates an eye-catching design that makes a product truly your own.

Likewise, combining larger monochrome items with smaller, more colorful accessories—for instance, a suitcase accompanied by a custom luggage tag—can transform a normally mundane pairing into a memorable partnership.

Group sports and outdoor activity products

Social Sports and Community Activities Revive Relationships

In this post-pandemic world, social sports and other community activities are enjoying a resurgence, playing an increasingly important role in restoring physical and mental health as well as reviving longstanding relationships. By bringing people together, these activities fostering a renewed sense of belonging and camaraderie.

One pastime that seems to have captured the country’s attention is pickleball, making it the fastest growing sport in the nation. Casual recreational sports leagues have also seen a surge in participation, providing additional opportunities for people to gather, compete, and socialize.

These trends confirm what appears to be a pent-up demand for activities that encourage interaction and connection with friends and family—relationships that had been neglected during COVID-19.

As a result, products catering to these types of activities are gaining significant traction. From corn hole sets and pickleball paddles to intramural jerseys and athletic socks, there are innumerable options available for businesses who want to promote their brand with customized athletic giveaways that are in tremendous demand.

kitchen and home care corporate gifts

At-Home Sanctuary: A Safe and Healthy Place

Another fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of an "at-home sanctuary" as a safe place to rest, revitalize, and recuperate has emerged as a vital necessity for many people.

While many workers have returned to the office at least part time, remote work remains a common practice throughout the business world, and it shows no signs of going away. Therefore, the need to cultivate a comfortable and healthy space within the confines of the home has never been more pronounced.

Confirming this trend, at-home workout gear has experienced a tremendous surge in popularity. Products like yoga blocks and resistance bands allows individuals to maintain their fitness routines without having to go to the gym. Relaxation tools such as aroma diffusers and candles contribute to creating a tranquil atmosphere conducive to stress relief and mindfulness practices.

All that exercise creates an appetite, making the kitchen another focal point for generating a sense of comfort. Items such as coffee grinders, makers, and mugs are quite popular among the influencer crowd, as are charcuterie boards and kitchen towels.

These trends create multiple branding opportunities for items that are not only useful and coveted, but also contribute to an atmosphere that promotes physical activity, relaxation, and indulgence. Not many branded items can transform a living space into a haven of solace and rejuvenation.

Let Logic Be Your Guide in 2024

These trends not only provide a glimpse into the mind of youthful consumers and influencers, they also provide a roadmap that can guide your purchasing decisions for branded merchandise for the next year. As you begin planning out your events and giveaways, look to the behavior of your target demographic to understand what might resonate with them. It’s a logical—and practical— approach.

OnFulfillment is available to help you find and produce the items you need. To learn more about how we can help, visit to schedule a meeting.

Topics: Event Marketing Materials Promotional Swag Riley's Picks Corporate Gifting