Results of a new research study show the majority of U.S. businesses are increasingly using gift cards as a reward tool for multiple groups, (channel,
Results of a new research study show the majority of U.S. businesses are increasingly using gift cards as a reward tool for multiple groups, (channel, sales, employee & customer), and that investment in gift card rewards is both significant and growing.
The study from the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC) and IMA and IRF provides encouraging news for the gift card and payments industries.
Gift cards ‘multi purpose’ rewards
Key takeaways included the fact that gift cards are being used as a reward tool for a number of groups (channel, sales, employee & customer) and 61 percent of large companies are purchasing gift cards for an average of 2.4 different reward and recognition audiences. The number is higher for smaller businesses – with 69 percent of mid-size companies are purchasing gift cards for an average of 2.8 different rewards and recognition audiences.
On average, mid-size firms with significant enough gift card purchases to qualify for the study are spending $450,000 per year on gift cards across all programs, the largest firms are spending over $1 million. 71 percent of mid-size and 52 percent of large companies say their B2B gift card spend is increasing.
Gift card suppliers ‘best choice’
Within the largest firms, gift card suppliers receive the highest ratings on choice, ease, and service, followed closely by agencies. Brands are seen as easy to work with, but offer less choice and service than alternatives. Online general merchants and retailers are easy to work with and offer a variety of options, but lag agencies and gift card suppliers on service.
In conducting the study, responses were measured by whether the gift card rewards were for sales, channel, employees or customers. Sales and customer budgets are the highest for large firms while channel budgets are the largest for mid-size firms.
Gift cards becoming ‘branded currency’
“Gift cards are an important option in incentive programs and will continue to grab a significant market share,” said Ashley Harris, IGCC vice president of education, and director of strategic partnerships, National Gift Card.
“Gift cards are an important option in incentive programs and will continue to grab a significant market share,”
“Looking beyond the incentive space, the impact of gift cards on the payments industry is expanding significantly. Gift cards, particularly digital cards, are becoming a form of branded currency and an increasingly important player in the payments industry,” Harris explained.