Virtual Incentives, an industry pioneer in digital reward fulfillment for leading global brands, has released original research in a paper entitled: “The Future of Rewards: How Consumers Value Rewards and Incentives.” The study was conducted by market research industry leaders Lenny Murphy, Koski Research and Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) with a goal of developing insights on what will drive consumer demand for rewards in the future. This is the first round in what will become an ongoing study to help shape ongoing efforts to understand the consumer reward space.

What types of rewards work?

“Incentive design, delivery and consumer experience is at the heart of what we do as a company,” said Jonathan Price, CEO of Virtual Incentives.

“This study marks another step along this path, as nationally fielded research can help us even better understand how consumer attitudes and preferences continue to shift, advising our own innovations both internally and as an industry.”

The study, which represents 1,000 respondents of the general U.S. population and was conducted last fall, focused on consumer preference.

Here are some of the key findings.

How do consumers like incentives to be delivered?

In today’s increasingly virtual world, consumers undeniably prefer receiving incentives instantly and digitally. They also place a high value on flexible spending options, wanting the option to spend their incentives anywhere. 78% prefer rewards and incentives delivered online/direct to mobile immediately 22% prefer to receive their rewards/ incentives later in the mail. Having said this, despite their digital and instantaneous delivery, a little less than half of consumers are ready or interested in earning cryptocurrencies as incentives. The majority (53%) said they wouldn’t use a program to earn cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.


The top consumer reward delivery methods:

Why do consumers take up incentives?

Respondents viewed incentives and rewards as “bonus” money (65 percent) and didn’t consider it part of regular income (yet 62 percent spend rewards on everyday purchases). As we already know, incentives are a catalyst to spark a higher level of engagement. But the study found that the majority of consumers participated in activities (like loyalty programs or customer surveys) solely for the incentives themselves with  70% stating this, vs the  30% that participate to ‘help’ – but for consumers to engage in the first place, they have to believe they are being fairly compensated

What incentives work?

We all want to know what consumer incentives work. Rather than saving a well-earned reward for a luxury or speciality item, most consumers (62%) say they spend their incentives on everyday items. Whatever you pick, the stakes are high. Brand loyalty can be boosted through the right incentive, with 75 percent saying that they feel more favourably toward a company that offers rewards.

Overall, the findings unveiled during the study showed that consumers have very clear ideas surrounding preferences for reward delivery, the influence rewards have in choosing a brand and the forms of currency that hold the most relevance.

Martin Hood SVP of ViPartners, the company’s reseller channel, explained that Future of Rewards study will be instrumental in guiding the product roadmap and offerings that resellers will benefit from in meeting their clients’ demands for relevant offerings and Virtual Incentives’ charter to make the execution, such as easy to implement APIs, the standard of the industry.

A complete report on study findings is here: