Interview with Steph Weigert from Zintuig in Holland

Learn more about the Dutch promotional products market, a small but very (re)active market.

Henk : Steph, Please give some short feedback about yourself and your company, when did your company start in Premium and gift business, does your company import products from China, US or other European countries etc.
Steph :We started in 1999 as one of the first web based resellers of premiums and promotional gifts, now in 2006 after some major improvements in our internet presentation we are proud to mention we are one of the key players in the Netherlands. We sell more than 30000 different items via the internet and use direct import channels in Europe and the far east. 80% of the goods we sell is bought in the Netherlands, 15% in Europe and 5% via direct import in the Far-East.

Henk : Can you describe the structure of your local Premium and Gift market? How many distributors are active? Many large importers like ITD are in Holland, What is your opinion about this ? Do they also sell directly themselves in the market like Igopost ? Which are the interesting trade fairs in Holland ?
Steph :There are some importers who sell direct to the customer, but this is mostly “not-done” because they pass the most important channel, the trading companies like and others. Naturally there are many different ways to sell the goods, some of our colleagues use internet, others account managers or the traditional catalogues. We believe in the future of internet, because it is cheaper and with reduced costs to use internet. There is only one fair for promotional gifts in the Netherlands, the PROMZ in Utrecht. But like always, this fair is only used by traders who sell all the same items, so there is nothing new to be seen by visitors.

Henk :Is the Dutch Market similar to the other EU markets product wise? Do you sell in Holland the same type of products? I know for example that Orange products are very popular in Holland. Do you have any precise figures about sales volumes?
Steph :Sales volumes of orange items are boosted when the national team is playing, we, the Dutch are proud of being orange, and when there is a soccer tournament the whole country turns orange. This is every 2 years a boost in sales for millions of euro’s extra for the whole industry. Every tournament there are new items to be bought and sold, last tournament we had a national hype of the orange winnies.. ( those cute little dolls with orange bodies. And we still remember the Ruud Gullit rasta wig in 1988 when we became European champion. We don’t know what’s next? Maybe removable tattoos will have a revival in two years when we will become the new European champion!

Henk : Are there still locally produced items ? Or is everything imported from Asia ? How do you feel about this?
Steph : Of course there are still Dutch made items. This is because the customers always want a faster delivery. Even large companies like Coca Cola with very large budgets expect their goods to be delivered within 1 month, a production in 3 months is no option, so custom made products from China will be sold less in the future, unless we find a way to produce and deliver faster. Locally produced goods like mouse pads are still sold and made in the Netherlands, delivery time depending on the quantity within 2 weeks. European producers who can make small quantities at low cost can make good money in the near future. There will be always importers who buy large quantities from China and do their imprinting locally, but they must have large stocks in even faster production time.

Henk : In a few last words, how do you think the Dutch premiums and gifts market will evaluate in the next years?
Steph :There will be a boost on internet sales. Customers grow up with internet and are not afraid to use this medium anymore. Our future- customer is the marketing manager who is used to use a multi channel approach. We as traders/sellers must answer their demands: fast delivery, low prices, more product-options, a constant stream of new and better products. The traditional sellers must change their way of thinking and rely less on their catalogues. Delivery times will be made shorter and shorter. Sellers must streamline there sales and order process and must have a capable studio to do the necessary DTP work. The customer will be ever more demanding, fast delivery will become more important than price. The trader with the fastest delivery at the most reasonable price will win in this increasingly competitive market.

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Thanks Steph for your time !