Brand Knew’s insight into current merchandising lead times in a COVID climate

September 30, 2021 | General, Management, Commercial Services, Marketing & Comms, Student Outcomes, Sport & Recreation


When it comes to the world of promo merchandise and apparel the focus is often on what’s unique, creative, engaging and delivers the best bang for the buck.

For 17 years, this is what has flowed through our blood at BRAND KNEW, and has us looking forward to each new day….challenges and all.

But in the background is the not so glamorous world of logistics.

Approximately 84% of projects BRAND KNEW works on, are time critical, ie; Orientation Week. So getting timing right quickly becomes the key ingredient, especially on projects where overseas manufacturing is part of the equation.

Which leads us to the current COVID climate, and its impact on global Logistics, and what your “Freight Expectations” should be as you start planning for the end on 2021 and into 2022.

There are many lengthy articles covering the myriad of factors that have put massive pressure on global logistics, but the short of it is;

Sea Freight: 

Port dwell times ( how long a ship waits to be unloaded and loaded ) have increased approximately 50-60%

Exports from China surged 21% late in 2020 and high demand has continued into 2021

Although there is an estimated 180 million shipping containers world-wide, a shortage of empty ones returning to China has seen costs sky rocket.

The Global Freight Rate index is 331% higher than the same period in 2020

Global Schedule reliability dropped to 39.5 in May 2021

Pre-COVID lead times were typically 3-4 weeks depending on time of year, these have been pushed out to 8-9 weeks ( this does not include manufacturing and sampling times )

Air Freight:

Although not as heavily impacted, we are still seeing delays of 2-3 weeks on air freight, and freight has settled a bit since the jumps in 2020.

So now what ?

BRAND KNEW is recommending that all our clients try be in advance of 4 weeks with regards to seeking quotes, making a purchasing decision (budget pending) and signing off on artwork approvals.

Ideally this will occur anytime from early September through to late October, if for early 2022 delivery.

If storage is a concern, BRAND KNEW can warehouse orders and send to your campus to align with your requirements.

Click here for detailed guidelines on ordering merchandise, artwork and branding from Brand Knew.

To obtain a clearer understanding of what your decision making deadline focus should be,

email James Hughes, or give him a buzz on 1300 132 701.

Brand Knew’s insight into current merchandising lead times in a COVID climate