USB Memory sticks are incredibly popular at the moment and no more so as a corporate giveaway or in the education sector. The problem with this is that these sectors are under constant pressure to reduce costs and drive down suppliers on price. But, there is a danger in going too far and buying "cheap" USB sticks in all the worst sense of the word.
We all love a bargain but is there such a thing as a good
quality, cheap, printed USB stick. After all when you considering that anything
that is printed with your company’s brand becomes an “ambassador” for you company
its important when sourcing branded products that you don’t compromise on the
core quality of the product by buying saving a few pennies.
This is particularly true of branded USB sticks. Anyone
given a printed USB stick is going to want to be able to trust it to store and
carry his or her personal data on. They will expect any promotional memory
stick carrying a corporate brand to perform equally as well as, if not better,
than memory sticks from regular brands such as Kingston, Sony or Transcend. If
you’re printed memory sticks underperforms or worse fails and the user loses
their treasured or important data this negative memory will be associated with
Equally if you want to pre-load the memory sticks you are
buying with data before your distribute them then you don’t want to discover when
you come to load them that they are slow or worse fail. Today its common for
memory sticks to be loaded with Sales Sheets, Product Sheets, Web Links, Audio
and Movie Files and other sales collateral. Implicitly you need this data to be
accessible and readable otherwise why go to the trouble of preparing it and
loading it. Trusting it to a cheap, sub standard memory stick that might have
been manufactured using Grade B (recycled) flash memory chip sets would be
The core component of any memory stick is the flash memory
module and the controller chip that goes with it. These have a price in the
market just like any commodity and most factories that assemble memory sticks
buy from the same small number of flash manufacturers at the prevailing rate.
The price variance in the market of the finished memory stick (within a given
memory size) is driven by the costs of the shell/case around this core
component, the assembly costs, the manufacturers profit margin and the currency
exchange rate to bring the memory sticks into the country. Given this the price
for any printed flash drive should be broadly similar so if you are being
offered prices below the general market price ask yourself why but more
importantly ask your supplier why. Ensure you get some guarantees on the grade
of chipset being used and check the credentials of the supplier.
In reality the only safe way to reduce the cost of branded
memory sticks is to:
1. Buy memory sticks with a smaller capacity, e.g. 128MB instead of 1GB.
The smaller the memory capacity the cheaper the USB stick but don’t go too small or
you will give the user little incentive to carry and use it.
2. Plan ahead to ensure you allow sufficient time to get them printed at
the point of manufacture e.g. in China. Last minute orders mean your supplier
will have to print them locally and local printing is typically 3-4 times more
3. Avoid times of high demand and limited supply when the prices are
driven upwards. Typically this is during Chinese New Year and in the run up to
As with everything in life you get what you pay for and
printed memory sticks are no exception!
Steve is part of the team at USB2U who have been supplying branded USB sticks since 2002. Now widely recognised as the No.1 supplier in the UK USB2U service is 2nd to none and their prices aren't bad either! If you are looking for printed USB flash drives or fully customised USB memory sticks then get in touch for a free no obligation quote.