Introduction to Inflatables

Today’s market for inflatable products is mind-bogglingly vast. From towering commercial inflatable displays outside of car dealerships to fun-filled bouncy castles for backyard parties, inflatables have unexpectedly seeped into many aspects of our day-to-day lives in both professional and recreational settings. Let’s take a look at various types of inflatable structures and their multifaceted applications.

What Are Inflatables?

Inflatables, as the name suggests, are structures that can be filled with air (or sometimes another gas). They are commonly made from readily available, airtight materials like vinyl or nylon. One key benefit common to all types of commercial and consumer inflatables is that the nature of their design allows for easy storage and transport once deflated.

Different Types of Inflatable Products

Many different inflatable products exist under that broad definition.  For example, we may see :

inflatable cans
  • Giant inflatable replicas of beer cans or other products used as advertising tools at fairs and outdoor events.
  • Holiday inflatables are also very common today, with American homeowners decking their yards with blow-up reindeer, snowmen, and Santas throughout the holiday season.
  • Interactive inflatables, including the ubiquitous bouncy house. Inflatable slides, obstacle courses, and tunnels are also a hit at parties and fairs.

These sorts of fun interactive features make up a large portion of the expanding inflatable rentals market.

Last but not least, we have the more common inflatable consumer goods that also fall under the umbrella of inflatable products, such as:

  • sports balls
  • inflatable camping furniture
  • blow-up pool toys.

Commercial vs. Consumer Inflatables

There are many different types of inflatables, and the simplest way to classify inflatables is into two main categories: commercial inflatables and consumer inflatables. There will be some overlap here, such as in purely decorative inflatables that could be used just as easily in a retail or residential setting or rented bouncy castles that blur the line between commercial enterprise and consumer goods.

While the underlying principle remains the same—objects or structures filled with air—the purpose, durability, and often the size will usually differentiate high-end commercial inflatables from mass-produced consumer inflatable products. Commercial inflatable goods like one-off advertising replicas or inflatable tunnels for sports stadiums are often more expensive, in part because they are built to last. Commercial inflatable products are, therefore, often made with more durable materials and methods than, for example, your average Christmas inflatable that can be purchased at the local department store.

What Are the Benefits of Inflatable Goods?

The benefits and upsides of using inflatable products are as vast as the array of products themselves. In fact, the huge versatility and variety are the first benefits of considering inflatables. High-end, made-to-order inflatable products can be customized to your brand’s colors and built to your exact specifications.

Beyond that, inflatable products tend to make great marketing and branding opportunities. Their size and visually striking nature can make them a powerful promotional tool when effectively placed and emblazoned with your company’s logo or slogan. Portability and ease of storage are other key benefits of inflatables worth touching on, as they shrink down to many times their installed size once deflated.

The versatility, visual impact, and fun factor of inflatable products have carved out market space in both the commercial and consumer worlds, but it’s important to understand the inflatable products available in each of these separate niches can be quite different.