PPAI Magazine January 2024

Outlook 2024 | Must Read understand having multiple options from other countries will help stabilize.” Shrewd suppliers and distributors are always looking to fortify logistics strategies. Bhat says, "In this ever-evolving landscape, agility and strategic partnerships become crucial for maintaining a steady flow of quality products to our clients.” 15% | Government Regulations & Environmental Concerns While many suppliers and distributors see sustainability efforts as a meaningful pursuit, just as many see government regulation as a constant threat to the industry and to individual companies. Indeed, newly implemented taxes, labor laws, compliance enforcement and tariffs all can create enormous disruption and inconvenience to specific companies. In many cases, there is little to be done by way of prevention, so education and reaction can be a means for survival. PPAI’s Product Responsibility Summit is a crucial industry event for understanding constantly evolving compliance requirements. Action is not futile, however. Every year, PPAI organizes Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) in which the Association coordinates in-person sit-downs between industry leaders and legislators on Capitol Hill. The participants spend the day in a series of meetings designed to make connections and educate lawmakers on the promotional merchandise industry. 13% | Technological Disruption We often hear about what emerging technologies can do for business and that the real problems are those who refuse to adapt to them. And yes, in the aggregate and over time, technological innovation helps the growth of just about any industry that accomplishes something meaningful. But lost in that conversation is a lot of trial and error and disruption, which, despite the Silicon Valley perspective, can actually be quite negative. New technology can be too expensive for small companies. It can also come with a lot of errors in the early stages, when overzealous adopters put too much stock in its effectiveness. “Billion-dollar mega companies taking internet orders without human intervention [are a threat to the industry],” says one distributor. “In the process, you take away from the customer the personal knowledge that a person with a marketing degree and many years of expertise has.” 10% | Brand & Reputation Management Suppliers and distributors listed sustainability measures as an opportunity for growth in the industry. The flipside of that dynamic is the damage that disposable items could do to the reputation of promotional products. One distributor pointed out that the “brandfill” reputation that promo has received in the past is a detriment to all promo companies, regardless of their track records in sustainability. Another distributor referred to it as “environmental degradation by way of overconsumption.” If this is the language used within the industry, one can imagine how harsh it is or could become from those looking at it from the outside. Auping and Corrigan are news editors at PPAI. “Billion-dollar mega companies taking internet orders without human intervention [are a threat to the industry].” —Distributor PPAI • JANUARY 2024 • 77