PPAI Expo 2018

Last month, our Creative Team traveled to Las Vegas to attend the 104th Annual PPAI Expo, an industry tradeshow that features more than 1,200 exhibiting companies showcasing more than a quarter million products. The following is a list of three major trends we spotted for 2018.

Mind + Body

Continuing the Health and Wellness trend of 2017 is Mind + Body, a more holistic approach to wellness in 2018. This trend not only encompasses physical fitness, but mental health and happiness. Spa products and items that promote calmness and self-care like candles, slippers, essential oils, scent diffusers, skincare products, and cozy blankets were prevalent on the Expo floor.


The Branded Merchandise industry is always looking at the retail realm for trends and inspiration…and this year was no different. We saw retail trends translated to our industry through new materials like velvet, denim, cork, coated cotton (to produce a shiny, vinyl look), and vegan leather, and new visual treatments like ombré color and marble textures.

Life Connected

Technology is a recurring theme in all industries, and its constant evolution into our industry is always a highlight of the PPAI Expo. This year’s technology focus was on Smart Tech.  “Smart Tech” includes any product that integrates with your mobile device, and typically requires a paired application to access features. This is also an elaboration on the “Internet of Things” (often referred to as IOT) trend, which is a network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with connectivity software that enables them to connect and exchange data. Examples include VR experiences, Amazon Alexa-connected speakers, wireless chargers and headphones, home products such as a Wi-Fi-enabled LED light bulb, and an innovative smart button that completes a number of preprogrammed tasks whenever you press it.