You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘strike while the iron is hot’ a million times before. And you’ll know it has nothing to do with getting the creases out of cotton shirts.

At the moment, however, the phrase applies perfectly to the global cotton crisis – specifically to businesses considering buying promotional cotton bags or branded cotton clothing. Prices of raw cotton are going through the roof and businesses that are considering using promotional shopping bags as part of a marketing campaign – or simply as a way of saying thank you to customers – should act now and get them while the going is still good.

As Chinese demand for the material grows, pricing pressures mean cotton is only going to get more expensive. Many high street shops have already started ramping up the prices of their cotton clothing – and that’s before the more expensive cotton even arrives on the high street.

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, cotton prices are already at a 15-year high and demand from China alone will push prices up a further 2.4 per cent by the end of 2011.

So, as we said at the beginning, when it comes to promotional shopping bags, it might be best to strike while the iron is hot.


1 Jamieson, Alastair. “Christmas shoppers stung by early 12 per cent price hike for knitwear and cotton gifts“. The Daily Telegraph, November 28th 2010.

2 CEBR. “End of an Era for Cheap Clothes After 18 Years of Steady Deflation“. Kelkoo, September 30th 2010.