Trend #1: Quiet Luxury
A concept that embodies an understated and refined approach to a luxurious lifestyle, Quiet Luxury is unlike traditional extravagance that flaunts opulence and overly done displays of wealth. In this new era of refined and cultured consumerism, conspicuous logos have lost their allure, and fast fashion's ethical challenges have led us to recalibrate our shopping choices.
In 2024, true luxury will exude confidence, elegance, expert craftsmanship, and freedom from pretentiousness. For companies to stay on trend, they will need to embrace subtlety, sophistication, and an appreciation for the finer things in a more discreet manner.
Fellow’s EKG Tea Kettle is one of our most popular items that continues to deliver the sleek style that executives crave. Luxury luggage travel companions Calpak and Paravel are practical and popular with the most stylish first-class jet setters. Maison de Sabre’s leather goods continue to be the ultimate expression of premium craftsmanship and design innovation that are ideal for clients looking to elevate their kits.
Trend #2: Hyper-Aware Consumerism
What defines the pinnacle of ethical style in 2024? Our take: a non-negotiable requirement for businesses and brands to demonstrate a commitment to the planet and their communities.
For the last decade, there's been a growing expectation from both corporate employees and customers for brands and products to demonstrate environmental and societal impact. Today, these qualities aren't just luxuries; they’re imperatives. In 2024, we predict that brands presenting eco-friendly, minority-owned, and/or community-conscious product options will go mainstream, comprising the majority of swag purchases for the first time.
At CreativeMC, we’ve helped fuel the growth of Hyper-Aware Consumerism through our Swag for Good platform, which promotes companies that support the environment, social causes, and minority-owned brands. Through our Brand Together program, we’ve forged relationships with 50+ brands from underrepresented communities like BIPOC, women-owned, LGBTQ+, and many more including Recess Paddles, Bevel, and Third Culture Bakery.
From a sustainability standpoint, we work with companies like Everybody.World and Marine Layer - who pioneer the demand for ethical practices and discover new ways of sustainability.
Our clients are singing the same tune: choosing products with care to make a positive impact on society and the environment. They’re eager to give a shoutout to those trailblazing brands leading the charge of consuming more mindfully.
Trend #3: AI Rebellion
While society’s growing fascination with AI has driven the rampant adoption of platforms like ChatGPT for assistance on daily tasks from business pitches to college essays, it has been accompanied by a surge in AI distrust. The distinction between what is genuine and what is fabricated has become increasingly questioned in this digitally saturated world, prompting a boomerang effect. In 2024, we expect the allure of tangible, tactile, and authentic experiences to surge as team members yearn for the certainty of what’s genuine.
There will be a growing demand for items that offer a refreshing contrast to the constant flux of the digital world. Many clients are tapping into nostalgia to provide an experience that can transport individuals back to a time when things were refreshingly uncomplicated.
This is the perfect opportunity for brands to lean into retro-inspired products. Vinyl LPs and record players like those by House of Marley, with their warm, crackling sounds, are experiencing a renaissance. Similarly, there's a resurgence in appreciation for notebooks and pens. The act of writing, of feeling the connection between hand and paper, is gaining ground against the digital notepads and keyboards that have dominated the past decade. We love this Analog Gift Box from Craig Hill and Polaroid’s Now+ Camera, which delivers instant-print photographs that are always a throwback hit at events.
The AI Rebellion isn’t about rejecting technology entirely but rather about finding a balance. It's a rallying cry for moments that are more about life experiences and less about instant-sharing.
Trend #4: Wonder Wanderlust
After three years of safe-at-home restrictions, we’re seeing a magnetic pull toward adventure on the horizon. The yearning to experience wonder, whether through exploration, the open road, the untamed wilderness, or uncharted experiences, is palpable. Employees are itching to break free from the confines of familiarity and rediscover the thrill of the unknown. That’s why our Brand Stylists are forecasting that in 2024, clients will support their teams with thoughtful products that complement out-of-office goals.
This trend prediction goes beyond travel swag like fancy luggage for hopping on planes. Our clients are looking for products that support employees as people, helping to satisfy their yearning for new cultures, fresh landscapes, and magical moments.
Wonder Wanderlust isn’t just about physical escapades; it’s about rediscovering a sense of vitality and a renewed connection to the world filled with micro-moments. Spicewalla Spice Kits can transport individuals to unfamiliar landscapes in their home kitchens with their Chai Pani Masala or Mediterranean collection. The Swiss Army knife of bottles, HiBear’s All Day Adventure Flask is a sustainable stainless steel coffee and tea brewer that also functions as a wine decanter, cocktail shaker, and water infuser.
Trend #5: Inner Peace Advocacy
In 2024, emotional and mental well-being support will be elevated from an optional perk to an absolute must-have. Increasingly, corporations are revisiting benefits and employee gifts to meet their colleagues where they are today.
A surge of disruptive societal challenges is driving this trend. One key culprit is the overload of stimuli: the constant barrage of always-on lifestyles combined with technology results in emotional clutter. We find ourselves drained. The question becomes, how do we reclaim that vitality?
“FoNo,” or the Fear of Normal, speaks to the anxiety of going back to pre-COVID society. The upside of COVID was that people had a moment to reflect on their lives and recenter around their values. They don’t want to lose the grounding they found.
How does this impact swag? Crystals and chakra-balancing products are high on the list of products that will grow in demand in 2024. In addition, therapeutic self-care items like stunning aromatherapy diffusers from Vitruvi and Nodpod’s Sleep Mask, which uses deep-touch pressure to stimulate sleep, are among our Brand Stylists’ favorite chillout toys.
Employers can find ways to positively cultivate a serene work environment with Modern Sprout's Find Balance Aloe kit, support downtime at home with iHome’s Sunrise Sleep Therapy Machine, and enhance mindfulness through dilo's reed diffusers that come in a variety of calming scents.
We're observing a shift in client preferences towards employee gifts that prioritize nurturing the individual on a meaningful level, pivoting from the typical swag choices tailored solely for professional use.
Trend #6: Black on the Back Burner
Neutral hues, wine-inspired shades, and earthy tones are all the rage, signaling a departure from black as the go-to color for fashionistas. The shift, evident on fashion runways and in urban street style, mirrors a collective aspiration for vitality, individuality, and a celebration of diversity for personal garb in 2024. In a pivot away from the traditional connotations of power black with seriousness or formality, this trend prompts an exploration of a broader palette. Embracing a newfound shade is refreshing and offers a touch of expressive individuality.
We love to recommend on-trend choices to our clients with the best brands that can provide multiple color options for their bestselling items: Sunski (polarized sunglasses), Zuni Sportswear (t-shirts), bkr (drinkware), and Flip and Tumble (totes and bags) can fit any vibe during this new era of color exploration. For an even more customized approach, leading notebook brands like Moleskine and Chameleon Like can provide gift sets and coloring books with stick-on patches and charms.
Our partners are like magicians with colors. They can whip up the exact match to your brand guide or dive into the world of creativity and conjure a shade that's uniquely yours. We've got the inside scoop to match endless color possibilities.
Trend #7: Corporate Culture Shakeup
As the Great Resignation keeps shaking up the job scene and giving the old-school 9 to 5 routine a run for its money, this generation is totally flipping the script on work, corporate hierarchies, and the non-stop grind mentality. From the BYOB (Be Your Own Boss) craze to the micropreneurship movement to the 4-day work week, a professional lifestyle includes a dash of fun, freedom, and a whole lot of passion!
Here's what to prep for 2024: When it comes to holding onto awesome employees, companies will have to create a never-ending mix of growth, purpose, and appreciation for the individual – while also serving the biz. Employers will need to craft a global corporate culture that's as clear as day, irresistibly compelling, and as inclusive as a group hug. It's all about making every employee, old or new, feel like they're part of a meaningful journey. Their contributions? Priceless. No one's just a face in the crowd; every team member is a star in a company constellation.
Transforming the way colleagues feel about the company means tapping into the power of swag, not only to strengthen their core values but also to throw a spotlight on the incredible diversity within their global teams.
Offering swag programs that provide choice and/or personalization helps every employee feel seen as an individual. Our client Productboard has made swag one of its most valuable benefits and a key differentiator in the competitive tech industry. The company awards points to employees worldwide for performance, anniversaries, and more that can be used to “purchase” their merch of choice.
Through our virtual store platform, RVO Health created an employee pop-up shop for its US and UK teams to choose one wellness product and one apparel item from a selection of options, enabling colleagues to select which combination best fits their personal style and lifestyle.
Trend #8: Human Touch
Physical retail is simultaneously experiencing a resurgence and a reinvention. While online shopping changed the world, physical stores are adapting and leveraging technology to enhance in-person experiences. The new-look retail landscape prioritizes interactive, engaging spaces, merging the convenience of online shopping with the sensory and social elements of brick-and-mortar stores.
We predict that incorporating a personal touch into one-of-a-kind swag experiences will also steal the show at corporate events in 2024. This includes personalized experiences, unexpected brand or product integrations, and innovative uses of technology for customized merch.
As hosts, it’s important to have all the right elements from decor to amusement. Business and Pleasure’s pillow and cushion collection can be mixed-and-matched and decorated with fun messaging and branding that creates the perfect welcoming ambiance.
On-site swag personalizations can also deliver unforgettable events. Timbuk2 offers an iPad experience that allows guests to design their own backpacks at an event. Vontelle Eyewear will set up a pop-up glasses shop at any venue, while Picnic Time offers custom wood-burning engraving for charcuterie boards at event locations. Looking for a food-based experience? Barika Bakes can create a dessert-tasting extravaganza or design a stunning custom cake for any occasion.
Our 2024 predictions not only stem from our team's extensive industry knowledge but also are influenced by the latest in fashion and design, partner insights, and a comprehensive analysis of economic and business trends.
- Quiet Luxury: When it comes to branded merch, we predict a more discreet and discerning approach to luxury, focusing on timeless design, exceptional materials, and a sense of exclusivity that is conveyed through subtlety rather than pretension.
- Hyper-Aware Consumerism: Employees and customers expect corporations to have a deep understanding of the environmental, social, and ethical aspects associated with a product. As a result, we predict that societal factors will drive the majority of swag choices in 2024 – an industry first.
- AI Rebellion: A noticeable shift away from the decade-long digital obsession, this prediction signals a rebellion against technology that can’t be trusted. In 2024, this will inspire companies to embrace the beauty and authenticity of vintage swag that evokes a sense of nostalgia and tangibility alongside (not excluding) technology.
- Wonder Wanderlust: Through merch and gifting, companies will support employees’ curious adventures outside of physical escapades, enabling the rediscovery of a sense of vitality and a renewed connection to the world.
- Inner Peace Advocacy: A remarkable movement is emerging: Companies are embracing employees' wellbeing with new mental health and wellness benefits. We predict this will translate to an increase in human-centered swag that feeds the soul and nurtures wellness.
- Black on the Back Burner: In 2024, brands will step out in more color, expanding their palettes as a form of expression and differentiation. Rich and warm tones will lead the departure from the conventional associations of power black.
- Corporate Culture Shakeup: This generation of professionals seeks freedom and flexibility. In order to retain top performers, companies will use swag programs as culture builders and engagement tools that support employees’ development and recognition.
- Human Touch: As consumers crave authentic experiences, businesses and brands are rediscovering the power of genuine human connections. From customizing products at events to leveraging technology to bring a product experience to life, we predict that merch will be a powerful tool to reimagine in-person interactions.