36 Top Small Business Promotional Items Categorized (2023 List)

In this post, we’re going to share a list of 36 – yes, that’s right! – promotional items that are […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop

In this post, we’re going to share a list of 36 – yes, that’s right! – promotional items that are worth having a look at when creating branded gift boxes for your employees and clients, as well as when you want to raise brand awareness with killer company swag. 

To make it easier for you to navigate through the list, we’ve divided it into eight popular promotional products categories:

  1. Apparel
  2. Drinkware
  3. Writing Instruments
  4. Bags
  5. Tech items 
  6. Home office
  7. Accessories
  8. Food, snacks, and candy

Jump right into the category you’re most interested in or read through the whole list to see what some of the most prominent promotional items are. 

Here we go. 

Table of Contents

Category #1: Apparel

Category #2: Drinkware

Category #3: Writing Instruments

Category #4: Bags

Category #5: Tech Items

Category #6: Home Office

Category #7: Accessories

Category #8: Food, Snacks, and Candy

Category #1: Apparel

The first product category we’re going to talk about is one of the most, if not the most, popular product categories. 

Enter… apparel

Apparel is a broad term for a number of different clothing products, which we’ll discuss in detail very soon. 

For many professionals in the swag industry, branded apparel is the first category that comes to mind when thinking of what kind of products they should advise their customers to customize and distribute for promotional purposes.

The reason behind apparel’s popularity lies in the fact that branded clothing is worn by people both indoors, but more importantly outdoors, thus generating a large number of impressions throughout its lifetime

In other words, it turns people into walking billboards who promote your brand’s logo just by walking down the street. 

Let’s get into discussing the first item in this category.

Item #1: T-shirt

The absolute king of branded apparel is naturally the ever-popular custom t-shirt

T-shirts are easy to customize any way you want in order to make your brand stand out from the crowd.

Plus, they’re great for a number of different occasions, such as promotional trade shows

Item #2: Hoodie

Another branded item that could work perfectly for trade shows and a number of events is the branded hoodie

Branded hoodies are getting more popular due to streetwear’s popularity and timelessness. 

In fact, according to a consumer survey, 62% of participants stated that they think streetwear is always in style. 

Make sure that next time you’re brainstorming about what products to personalize, hoodies are on your list. 

Item #3: Jacket

Tees and hoodies are cool, but a high-quality promo jacket can be more eye-catching and stylish. 

What’s great about promotional outerwear is that they can be very stylish and unique, thus increasing the chances of people wearing them more and contributing towards promoting your brand. 

Author’s Tip: Our advice here is to make sure that you’re customizing high-quality jackets that will last in time. Stay away from cheap jackets with tacky logos as chances are, no one will ever wear them. 

Item #4: Overalls

We can’t talk about promotional apparel and skip overalls

Depending on the material, color, and fit, overalls can be extremely stylish. 

Plus, they offer protection and comfort which means that they’re ideal workwear

Small businesses should invest in cool overalls with a company logo because overalls can be worn in a number of different situations on worksites, in workshops, and even on a Sunday park stroll. 

Item #5: Socks

Last on our list of branded attire; socks are a thoughtful gift for small businesses that want to show their appreciation to their employees

In other words, socks are an ideal small thank you gift for companies with limited budgets. 

Plus, branded socks might be less expensive than other, more high-end branded products, but they still offer a wide variety of colors, sizes, and customization options. 

Let’s get to the next product category. 

Category #2: Drinkware

Another one of the most popular promotional products categories is drinkware. 

As people start to use more and more reusable drinkware items that are durable and can help minimize the proliferation of single-use plastic, companies have started investing more in practical, branded drinkware

Branded tumblers made of bamboo, water bottles made of recycled plastic, and stainless steel or ceramic coffee mugs have thankfully been part of our routines in the past few years.

Let’s get into some of the products included in this trending product category.

Item #6: Coffee mug

The first item that falls under this category is naturally an old-time classic in the swag industry, the coffee mug

Custom mugs are personal items that are used by coffee and tea lovers on a daily basis. 

Because people use them often, they’re a great promo gift option, especially if you’re running a promotional campaign to make people aware of your brand, and most importantly, to create long-term relationships with clients

Item #7: Tumbler

A tumbler is a stylish item that can be made of a variety of materials, including plastic and recycled plastic, stainless steel, bamboo, and so on and so forth. 

It’s used to store both cold and hot beverages and is ideal for those people whose routines require them to spend many hours outside their home or traveling. 


Because a tumbler can keep your beverage at a stable temperature which means that, even if you’re too busy to have coffee at home, you can still get your caffeine hit on your way to work or when doing your everyday errands. 

Item #8: Water bottle

Similar to what we said about the reusable tumbler, a reusable water bottle is used to keep your water fresh and at a stable temperature while allowing you to significantly reduce the number of plastic water bottles you buy.

For small businesses, branded water bottles are a sustainable and evergreen gift option. 

Plus, it can be a great gift for a variety of occasions such as as a welcome gift to new hires or a small thank you gift to existing employees. 

Item #9: Collapsible cup or bottle

A relatively new addition to the list of branded drinkware, a collapsible cup or a collapsible bottle, like the one shown below, is ideal for small businesses that want to create branded gifts that are practical yet less common than a custom water bottle. 

They’re portable and foldable and can even fit into your pocket if you’re done drinking your coffee. 

Overall, they’re a great alternative to disposable cups. 

Our next product category is right below this line. 

Category #3: Writing Instruments

You’ve probably received a branded pen or pencil from a company or institution at least once in your life. 

Writing instruments include a wide range of promo items that might be small but can make a lasting impression. 

The key to customizing pens, pencils, notebooks, and other writing promo products is quality. 

Quality is, of course, important in any promotional material that bears your branding, but in this particular case, a high-quality pen or padfolio can differentiate you from the competition. 

Put another way, writing materials of poor quality might give your clients, members of your audience, or anyone else you might be sharing these items with the wrong impression about what your company stands for. 

Item #10: Pen

Promotional pens are frequently encountered as corporate gifts. 

That happens for a variety of reasons, including how useful and practical they are.

Additionally, it happens because they can easily be personalized with a business logo and emit professionality; high-quality pens are widely used within business or professional environments. 

Item #11: Pencil

A great addition to a pen set is the custom pencil

Personalized pencils can be found in a wide selection of colors and sizes and they’re ideal for small businesses that want to provide memorable office supplies for their employees. 

Plus, they’re also great as school supplies for companies that are looking to create custom gifts that can be enjoyed by all members of the family. 

Item #12: Stylus pen

A more contemporary take on the standard business stationery is a stylus pen

A stylus pen functions exactly like your regular pen but also features a soft, rubberized stylus on top. 

The stylus can be used on most touch screens, especially when you need a precise tool. 

Item #13: Notebook

An item that’d go great with all three items we’ve just looked at is a branded notebook

Custom notebooks are always handy for those who love doodling, taking notes in meetings, or keeping their thoughts and ideas organized. 

Author’s Tip: Small businesses can sign up for this gift idea when working on complex collaborative projects and want to give their employees an item they can use to brainstorm and keep track of their progress. 

Item #14: Padfolio

The final item in the writing instruments product category is the padfolio

Padfolios are well-liked among business professionals who are looking for stylish objects that allow them to keep their belongings organized and in one place. 

What’s more, they’re ideal as a gift to remote employees to keep their workspace clean and tidy. 

Keep reading to find out five more swag product categories and some of the most popular included in each category. 

Category #4: Bags

Promotional bags that are customized with a company logo are perfect for any brand that wishes to promote itself while also providing gift recipients with handy, stylish, and high-quality items. 

What’s great about promo bags is that they might accompany a person to their work, gym, outdoor activities, and travels.

The reason why custom bags are considered such a thoughtful and efficient way to  establish relationships with people in your industry and reach your target audience is that they can be used in different ways and occasions in each person’s life. 

As a result, such a gift can enhance the familiarity and connection a person might feel with a brand. 

Let’s dive deeper into some of the category’s most useful and popular items.

Item #15: Backpack

First up is the backpack

A backpack is one of the best promotional items because of all the different functions it can have. 

It’s ideal for travelers and adventurers who like to travel light and, in more compact sizes, it’s great for short excursions and commuting. 

Plus, a sturdy custom backpack can be the most useful accessory for people who commute to work and need to carry their own laptops.  

There are some amazing laptop backpacks out there, exactly like the one shown above. 

Item #16: Drawstring bag

A more sporty option is a drawstring bag that fits perfectly in any workout environment. 

We particularly suggest this one for your employees who love working out and for trade shows where attendees will definitely want to grab one to put all their other swag, samples, and leaflets they collect from the other companies at the event. 

Item #17: Tote bag

A personal favorite, the tote bag, or shopper, is the best option for companies that are looking for a sustainable and durable promo bag solution. 

It’s washable and can last for years if looked after well. 

Custom tote bags can be a great conference speaker gift as this will allow your speakers to keep all their belongings in one place. 

Item #18: Hip pack

Probably the most trendy and contemporary in this list of promo backs, the hip pack has been around for many decades now. 

Fashion brands across the world are creating and reimagining them for their audience and the swag industry couldn’t be missing from the fanny pack party.

They’re cool, comfortable, stable, offer hands-free convenience, and are highly recommended for small businesses that target a younger audience.

Item #19: Duffel bag

The fifth custom bag we want to share with you before getting to the next promo product category is the duffel bag

Used for travel, sports, and outdoor activities, a duffel bag is a great option for carrying bulky items. 

Author’s Tip: Go for a high-quality faux leather duffel bag if you’re looking for high-end festive promotional gifts for this Xmas

Moving on. 

Category #5: Tech Items

With more and more people using different kinds of gadgets and electronics in their everyday lives, it’d be impossible not to look at branded tech items as one of the most prominent merchandise product categories. 

Custom tech products and gadgets are fantastic for promotional giveaways organized by companies that have enough marketing budget and want to wow their long-term as well as new customers. 

From mouse pads – which are not so popular anymore – to power banks and music speakers, tech items are here to stay. 

Item #20: Wireless charger

Chances are; if you don’t use one of these, you’ve seen or heard about wireless chargers before because they’re currently trending and almost everyone uses them. 

They’re practical and disappear the one problem regular chargers generally come with: cables.  

Plus, the number of smartphone models that are compatible with wireless chargers is increasing so we can be sure that this trend will continue. 

Item #21: Bluetooth earbuds

Another wireless tech product that so many people around the world have started using in the past decade is Bluetooth earbuds

They’re tiny and lightweight, and like the wireless charger covered above, they save us from having to untangle spools of cables. 

Moreover, they’re far more stylish and look cooler than regular, wired earphones. 

Item #22: Bluetooth speaker

So many times you want to listen to a song and your laptop is playing up, the sound quality is poor, the volume is just a bit too low. 

Bluetooth speakers not just magically solve all these problems, but they also can be carried around everywhere you go, including your local park, beach, or your friends’ BBQ. 

In other words, have a Bluetooth speaker and a bottle opener to hand and you’re ready to party!

Item #23: Flash drive

It might be wired and more old-school than others in this list of tech items, but a flash drive is always useful. 

Yes, people do generally use cloud services to store their files online, but a good custom flash drive will always be appreciated by those who find cloud storage complex or pricey. 

Our sixth promo product category for small businesses comes right up.

Category #6: Home Office

Working from home (WFH) has been a reality for many people around the globe, mostly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the pandemic might be the cause, working from home has and is planned to be maintained as a working model for many companies and professionals worldwide, even when the pandemic is hopefully gone for good. 

That’s because working from home has given professionals the flexibility to enjoy other aspects of their lives and boost their productivity and wellness.

When working from the comfort of home, there are some items that can make the experience even better and we recommend them for small and medium-sized businesses. 

Item #24: Laptop and tablet stand

The first and one of the MOST useful WFH items is a custom laptop and tablet stand

People working from home might not necessarily have an ergonomic chair or desk, which can make their work routine much more difficult and overwhelming. 

An item as simple as a laptop stand can improve an employee’s body posture, thus boosting their work performance.

Item #25: Desk lamp

Similar to a laptop stand, a branded desk lamp is yet another promo product idea that small companies can consider creating for their remote employees.

It might look like a small gift, but it can totally elevate a professional’s office and make the workspace feel warmer and cozier. 

Item #26: Desk clock

If you’re looking for quality products your remote team members may not have in their home office already, a custom desk clock is a perfect solution. 

Clocks are popular promotional items that companies of all sizes can customize and offer to their employees as an extra holiday gift that’ll decorate their office. 

Item #27: Desk organizer

No matter which one of the home office items already discussed that you’re interested in, a desk organizer can make a great addition to your swag box

Learn More

Ideal for promotional giveaways and swag packs for new employees, a desk organizer helps keep your office uncluttered, thus making it easier to concentrate on your daily tasks. 

We’ve got another two product categories for you – keep reading to find out what they are. 

Category #7: Accessories

It’s time that we talk about one of the first and most popular promo products categories: accessories. 

Keychains, stickers, custom buttons, and lapel pins have been in the custom merchandise industry for a long time. 

They’re usually not expensive to be customized and they offer companies a wide range of different products. 

In fact, in the past decades, there have been several additions to the promo accessories category, some of which we’re going to cover here. 

Item #28: Lapel pins

Lapel pins can be worn on clothing, bags, or virtually any piece of fabric. 

They’re often used by wearers as symbols of belonging in companies, organizations, subcultures, etc., as well as to show support to important causes and companies. 

Author’s Note: Branded lapel pins are a great idea for small companies and startups that want to raise awareness on their branding. 

Item #29: Face masks and coverings

A few years back, we wouldn’t have included this item as a promotional product for small businesses. 

However, face masks and face coverings have been part of our everyday routines since early 2020. 

No matter how big or small a company is, creating custom face masks and coverings for their customers, employees, and audience is totally recommended. 

Author’s Tip: Combine a company face mask with a custom lip balm, a branded hand sanitizer,  a branded stress ball, and a first aid kit to create a thoughtful wellness package

Item #30: Bandanas

A custom bandana can also be a great custom accessory for your business. 

It can be both protective and decorative and it offers endless customization and personalization options. 

Item #31: Headbands

Very similar to a bandana, a custom headband is made to absorb sweat, thus being an ideal piece of swag for those who do intense sports and physical activity. 

Usually created from sweat-absorbing fabrics, headbands, like the bandanas we saw above, can be customized with any logo, pattern, or color a company likes in order to successfully promote its branding. 

Below is the final promotional product category you need to know about. 

Category #8: Food, Snacks, and Candy

I bet that this final category is probably the favorite for many of our readers. 

Who doesn’t love getting promotional food, snacks, and candy for free, right?

They’re delicious and can be used on so many different occasions including conferences, trade shows, events, in physical stores as a welcome gift to visitors and customers, as a thank you for online purchases,  and so on and so forth.

Item #32: Chocolate truffles

We’re naturally kicking off our short list of promotional food with chocolate truffles and other chocolate goodies

No need to elaborate on why this can be a great little branded item; truffles are usually extra delicious and ideal for complementing any ‘thank you’ swag gift. 

Item #33: Tea

Hearing about promotional food probably makes you think of chocolate and other snacks. 

However, we think creating a promotional tea and herbs selection is a great idea for small companies looking to create thoughtful and more personal swag packages for their employees or clients. 

Item #34: Nuts

Nuts of any kind definitely score high in terms of edible swag. 

They come in different packages and flavors which means that, no matter how special you want your branded food gift to be, you’ll be able to find something unique and tasty. 

Item #35: Energy bars

Energy bars are becoming more and more popular; many people around the world have them as their snack of choice when on a break from work or as a healthy and energizing gym and exercise treat. 

We totally recommend them as a healthier alternative to unhealthy and sugary snacks. 

Item #36: Spices

Last in our list of small business promotional items is a set of spices

This might be a bit unexpected, but spices are great for various reasons.

First of all, they can be an essential addition to any BBQ and cooking branded gift set and they also last for quite a long time, which means that whoever you give them as a gift from your business will be able to enjoy it for quite some time. 

Trust me!

We’ve gone a long way so it’s time to wrap up this post.

Now Over to You

You’ve made it to the end of our list with 36 promotional business gifts

We’ve shared product ideas with small and new businesses in mind, but the truth is that any company could sign on for these products.

They’re affordable and practical and they are bound to help you grow your business

If you’re looking to start creating your very own branded items for your business, feel free to contact us and we’ll take care of the rest. 

Thank you for visiting our blog 🙂

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