Tacky promotional products are out. Useful, quality gifts are in

Recession is no laughing matter. When the economy dips, businesses slam down the brakes on fun, silly promotional products, opting instead for useful -even dull - items to sport logos and corporate branding.

In 2010, Ideasbynet saw a steady drop in sales of promotional logobugs, fridge magnets and stress toys. Companies were keen to show customers that their spends weren't being frittered away on cheap tat. But, while stress balls and novelty magnets fell out of favour, there were large increases in the likes of cotton shopping bags, ice scrapers and pocket diaries.

Even more popular is the humble tax disc holder. 2010 also saw a threefold increase in tax disc holders, as well as large increases in sales of both branded pens and ceramic, branded mugs.

Did you know, the average coffee mug is used more than 2000 times, offering over 2000 promotional opportunities?

Since the beginning of the credit crunch, Ideasbynet has seen useful products like those handy trolley coin keyrings gobble up orders, while sales of plastic 'promo' goods continue to wane. The keyrings, a lifesaver for anyone caught without a pound coin at the supermarket, sold in excess of 100,000 units in both 2009 and 2010.

That's a lot of trolleys.

Ultimately, the downturn has brought in a focus on products which have a higher unit cost but are less disposable and can be used daily by members of a target audience.

Lucy Evans, a director at Ideasbynet says: "Our customers are realising that practical products allow them to promote their brand more widely. For example, a cotton shopping bag displays a company logo not only to its owner but also to the general public."

Have you junked your novelty plastic keyrings for practical and long-lasting mugs? Tell us about it below.

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