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8 Best Sublimation Mug Types to Stock in 2022

Selection of white mug sublimation blanks

Mugs are one of the most popular sublimation blank items because of how they are a key part of consumers’ daily routines. There is a range of mug types, sizes, and styles that cater to different customer bases. 

In this article, we will take a look at the top factors that retailers should consider when sourcing sublimation mugs. We will then explore the global drinkware market, looking at the current size, estimated growth, and performance of the travel mug and coffee mug segments. Finally, the article will end with a guide on the best sublimation mug types to stock in 2022.

Table of Contents
Overview of the global drinkware market
What to consider when buying sublimation mugs
8 best sublimation mug types to stock
Stock up on drinkware blanks

Overview of the global drinkware market

The global drinkware market value was estimated at US$ 3.87 billion in 2018, and this was projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 3.1% over the 2019–2025 forecast period.

Key drivers behind this growth include increased demand from the foodservice and hospitality industries, as well as increased beverage consumption and new product innovation leading to the manufacturing of more aesthetic and eco-friendly products.

In terms of regional distribution, Europe held the largest market share. It was followed by North America, while Asia-Pacific was projected to be the fastest-growing region, growing at a CAGR of 3.5%.

What to consider when buying sublimation mugs

Below is a brief buying guide on what factors retailers should keep in mind when buying sublimation mugs:

  1. Source from a reputable supplier: It is crucially important to buy your mugs from a supplier who has a reputation for selling quality products at a good price, and good customer service. 
  1. Select mugs that are perfectly round with smooth sides: To make it easier to remove the mugs from the sublimation mold, it is important to source select mugs that have slight curves at the top rim as well as the bottom edge. This helps the press to provide even heat and pressure for the best image quality.
  1. Choose mugs that have hard coatings: When sublimating, the type of coating used can affect the temperature used during sublimation. Soft coatings tend to require lower temperatures or the sublimation paper will end up sticking to the coating. This is less likely with hard coatings, making them more ideal.
  1. Go for mugs that have smooth, even coatings: Avoid coatings that are not smooth and even potentially leave blemishes, thin areas on the coating, or areas without coating at all. Areas without coating receive no sublimation, making it essential to choose high-quality coatings.

8 best sublimation mug types to stock

1. Coffee mugs

White coffee mug made from ceramic

The top sublimation mug type is the coffee mug. These types of mugs are primarily intended for serving coffee but they can be used for serving other hot beverages such as tea and water. 

Coffee mugs typically have handles and are cylindrical, but new, unique styles take on different shapes. The most common material used to make coffee cups is ceramic as it can handle hot drinks, is dishwasher safe, and is microwavable. 

2. Tea mugs

Round-shaped white sublimation blank made from ceramic

Similar to coffee, tea mugs or cups are intended for serving hot beverages, but in this case, mostly tea. Tea mugs are usually small or moderate in size, but there are also larger versions, and Nordic styles are becoming popular.

When it comes to materials, ceramic and porcelain are the most common materials used to make tea mugs as they are durable and can be designed into beautiful, ornate styles.

3. Water mugs

Selection of water mugs with straws

Water mugs are mugs that are specifically designed for serving or storing water. These types of mugs can come in both straight-side and tapered-side styles.

Water mugs are becoming increasingly popular with gym goers or people who are constantly on the go and need somewhere to store their water. 

The mugs are usually made from durable materials such as plastic and stainless steel. As people typically use these mugs throughout the day, printing time markings that help people keep track of their water intake is very popular, making transparent materials such as plastic ideal as they show the user the level of contents remaining.  

4. Camping mug

White camping mug made from metal

Camping mugs can be considered specialty mugs as they are targeted toward a subset of consumers seeking drinkware to use during camping or similar outdoor recreation. 

As these types of mugs are used outdoors or in rough environments, they are usually made from highly durable materials such as enamel or stainless steel. 

To enable campers or people outdoors to keep their beverages at the desired temperature for longer, some advanced camping mugs are double-wall insulated to retain either heat or cold.

5. Glass mugs

Set of glass mug sublimation blanks with brown tint

Glass mugs are highly aesthetic drinkware products made from glass that allows transparency. These mugs can be used for both hot and cold beverages and would need to be made from high-quality glass to hold high-temperature contents for long periods.

For both functional and aesthetic purposes, glass mugs can also have double-wall layers for added insulation while looking even more unique compared to traditional drinkware. 

6. Travel or vacuum mugs

White travel mug blanks with double-wall insulation

Travel or vacuum mugs are mugs made for people on the go. They are vacuum-insulated multipurpose mugs that can store both hot or cold beverages for extended periods. 

The most common material used to make travel mugs is stainless steel because it offers maximum heat retention. Travel mugs usually come with a lid that prevents spilling and they can have rubber grips or handles so they can be easily carried around.

7. Eco-friendly mugs

Biodegradable mugs made from wheat straw

Eco-friendly mugs are the new trend within drinkware. Their growing popularity is driven by changing consumer behavior as more consumers pursue sustainable living and seek out products that allow reusability.

These reusable mugs are typically made from sustainably-sourced or organic materials such as bamboo fiber or highly durable materials such as stainless steel. Eco-friendly mugs can also be biodegradable, meaning plastic use is avoided as the cups decompose in nature.

8. Kids’ mugs

Selection of kids’ mugs with lids and straws

Kids’ mugs are drinkware that is made with unique designs and shapes, intended for use by babies or toddlers. The mugs can feature single- or double-handle designs, or have lids and straws added to them.

Because the primary users have a high risk of dropping the mugs, these types of mugs are typically made from durable materials that are not easy to break such as plastic, stainless steel, and bamboo.

Stock up on drinkware blanks

Drinkware is certainly a perennial market as there will always be demand for various drinkware products throughout the year. However, factors such as growing product demand from the foodservice and hospitality industries, increased beverage consumption, and demand for eco-friendly products are driving up demand for sublimation mugs. 

As you source drinkware blanks, remember to source from a reputable supplier and select mugs that are perfectly round with smooth sides, hard coatings, and smooth, even coatings. If you are considering updating your product catalog, the following sublimation mugs types will certainly be great options to consider:

  1. Coffee mugs
  2. Tea mugs
  3. Water mugs
  4. Camping mugs
  5. Glass mugs
  6. Travel or vacuum mugs
  7. Eco-friendly mugs
  8. Kids’ mugs

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