The United States has leveraged tariffs against Chinese imports in a bid to offset the trade deficit. Many sectors of the American economy – from seafood to retail – will feel the effects of higher prices, more scarcity, and a rush to find new sources. Promotional items with logos are just one of the industries which will feel the effects of tariffs. Below outlines all you need to know on the US-China Trade War and how the tariffs will impact the price of promotional items with logo.

The United States imports almost $560 billion worth of goods from China every year while exporting just a fraction of that amount. Since the end of last year, Americans have watched a trade war break out between the two largest powers in the world as the United States has attempted to change this.

With import tariffs in excess of 25 percent, Americans should expect to see higher prices for certain items. However, here is what it means for American businesses which rely on imported goods from China either to resell or for their marketing efforts, including promotional items.

How the Promo Item Industry Is Being Affected

It is no secret that many items are manufactured in and exported from China. According to the US Department of Commerce, most Chinese imports occur in the electronics, machinery, and furniture industries. Consumer goods account for a significantly smaller portion of these imported goods.

Nonetheless, the trade war has shed light on the fact that most promotional items with logos are sourced in China, while few alternative sources are available. May’s new round of tariffs against Chinese imports affects nearly every promotional item across the board.

The promo item industry expects a general increase in prices for items sourced from China. For example, a pack of 12 stress balls might have previously been $2.66. With the tariffs in place, a 25 percent increase could raise this wholesale price to as much as $3.32 for that same pack.

What Items Are Included?

The latest rounds of tariff increases target some 5,000 items – everything from light bulbs to vodka and baby strollers. Among these include items that are more popular promotional items:

  • Ballpoint pens
  • Drinking and glassware products
  • Pen and pencil holders
  • Bags and totes

Expected Changes in the Industry

It is too early to tell how much the new tariffs will change the promo item industry. RJ Young is actively collecting information from suppliers and partner manufacturers. What is known:

  • Prices will fluctuate as tariffs are imposed, removed, and enforced. Both manufacturers and suppliers are dedicated to maintaining price stability as much as possible to avoid sudden and significant price hikes.
  • Both manufacturers and customers are interested in seeking alternative items, which may influence which promotional items with logos they choose.

What RJ Young Is Doing

1. Working with Manufacturers to Keep Prices Down

RJ Young is working tirelessly with manufacturers to get the best price and solution for customers. In many cases, this includes “next quantity” pricing strategy from some manufacturers.

In other words, this allows RJ Young to sell items at prices below the normal price for that quantity. For example, it may be possible to negotiate a price for 250 pieces as if a customer was buying 2,000 pieces.

2. Maintaining Speed and Quality of Delivery

RJ Young is analyzing supply chains and manufacturing logistics to ensure that the tariffs do not impact turnaround time for customers. Currently, there should be no delays in the delivery of promo items.

3. Researching Possible Alternatives

The reality that most promotional items come from China makes alternative sourcing difficult. However, RJ Young is working with manufacturers to identify suitable alternatives which meet the same quality and aesthetics as the original item. In such cases, the customer’s dedicated promo item specialist will reach out to discuss options.

In addition, RJ Young carries a selection of promotional products which are Made in the US. These items include Orca and Post-it® and may be found through selecting the Made in USA box in the search function on the online promotional store.

Promotional Items with Logos Remain an Excellent Marketing Strategy

Branded promotional items with logo(s) remain an excellent way to leave a company’s mark. Research shows that 71 percent of consumers will remember a brand that gave away a promotional product at a trade show. Likewise, brands which provided custom branded merchandise were likely to be seen more positively.

There is no doubt the trade war will affect the promo item industry. By working with RJ Young, they will communicate with manufacturers to secure the lowest prices and work with you to find alternative items.  A company’s promo items will remain a quintessential – and highly effective – part of a company’s marketing strategy.

RJ Young is committed to helping your company make a flawless impression. Do you have further questions about how we are handling our promotional item pricing and sourcing? Reach out and start a conversation today.

Booths are being planned, collateral developed and promotional items ordered. Tradeshow season is upon us and many vendors are brainstorming strategies to capture the attention of event attendees, get recognition and drive engagement with their brand. As flash drives, ink pens and Frisbees are flying around the tradeshow floor, it can be difficult to stand out with promotional items. The bigger the tradeshow, the more difficult this can be for exhibitors.


One strategy to earn visibility and brand impressions is to root your brand into the tradeshow or event fundamentals by requesting sponsorship of key promotional items that will be attached to every event attendee.


Below are two key items to consider sponsoring:


  1. Tote Bags

Lots of exhibitors typically leads to lots of materials to tote around the showroom floor. Most events provide an event-sponsored tote bag for the convenience of attendees to collect collateral, promotional items and other information. It’s common to see these bags being carried at events and then being used to carry materials back home. Bag options range from various plastics to various cloth materials to meet every budget and allow for many printing options, including full color graphics.

  1. Lanyards

Admission to networking, nametags and tickets are frequently displayed via lanyards that hang from the neck of every tradeshow attendee. These items typically have fabric that can be imprinted with a logo as well as a plastic vessel to hold nametags, that can also be imprinted.


Those are two ways to attach your brand to tradeshow attendees to ensure you are getting the most brand impression for your sponsorship dollars. Let us help you select promotional items and other needs to support your brand’s tradeshow presence.


Scott McCormick, Printing Division Sales Manager

Scott manages the print sales team and provides valuable service to our clients requiring outsourced printing and promotional items. He joined RJ Young in 2012 and has been in the industry for 16 yrs. Scott is originally from Fairview, TN and works out of our Nashville, TN office. In his spare time, he volunteers for multiple charitable organizations in the Nashville area.



It’s the New Year and time for making declarations that will lead to a better you! One of the most prevalent resolutions heard over the water cooler, after a holiday season filled with eating, drinking and merrymaking, is to get in shape and drop those last few pounds.

With 50% of Americans making New Year’s resolutions, and 25% dropping them only seven days later, here are a few promotional items that can help you spur on the excitement and desire to get fit in the coming year, while keeping your brand and budget top of mind.

  1. Fitness & Activity Tracking Devices

Keep pace with progress, monitoring calories burned, activity duration, steps, distance and sleep. Wearable fitness and activity tracking devices can be attached to wrists or clip on and are easily compatible with IOS and Android Bluetooth phones.

  1. Gym Bag

Carry all necessities in a bag designed to hold shoes, towels, water bottles and accessories for your workout. Gym bags are available in a variety of materials, handles, straps and closures so you can find the right bag for your brand.

  1. Fitness Mat

Keep up your yoga, Pilates and ab workouts anywhere—outdoor, on the floor or while you travel with a fitness mat. Lightweight options with carrying cases come in multiple colors for imprinting.

  1. Water Bottle

Keep hydrated throughout workouts and activities with water bottles to meet all needs—from aluminum to a variety of BPA-Free plastics, to screw on tops and flip tops and 12oz.-24oz. and larger.

  1. Gym Towels

Whether on the court, on the links or finishing a run, a gym towel is a necessity while getting in shape. Towels can clip on bags or even comfortably hang around your neck during a work out, and come in a variety of sizes, colors and fabrics.

Let us keep your promotional products, budget and brand in shape this year.

View more products at the RJ Young Promo Stop.

Steve Goldstein – Major Accounts Representative

Steve has been in the industry for 5 years and became part of the RJYoung team in 2015.  His focus has been to provide the highest level of service to his customers who seek to brand their organization through print, promotional items and branded apparel.  Steve has been a part of the Nashville community for over 20 years and works out of the Nashville office.