Gift cards are highly prized rewards not just for winners, but for incentive and motivation professionals, too, according to the Gift Card IQ 2020 survey. More than 75 percent of the 146 industry professionals who responded to our online poll rated them as effective or extremely effective perks. Among other key survey findings:
Dining and restaurants were the most popular type of gifts card for rewarding employees or clients. Other popular categories were retail/department stores and entertainment. Cards for home-improvement stores were the least popular, according to those polled.
Easy administration was the top benefit of using gift cards for rewards, cited by 64 percent of those surveyed, followed by their broad audience appeal, flexible redemption options, the perceived value of the award and their cost-effectiveness.
According to 31 percent of the sample, companies typically spent from $1,000 to $9,999 on the rewards in 2019; only 7 percent had generous budgets of $500,000 or more. For per-person spend, $25-$49 was the most popular amount (20 percent), followed by $50-$99 (18 percent).
Most often, respondents used gift cards as sales incentive rewards (55 percent), followed by business gifts (49 percent), service awards (46 percent) and employee engagement (45 percent). Few of those polled used them in safety or dealer-incentive programs.
The majority of incentive and motivation pros (55 percent) buy physical cards, while 39 percent use both physical and digital versions. Just 6 percent preferred to use only digital cards or certificates.
What is your company’s 2020 budget for all gift certificates/gift cards in incentive programs
|Less than $1,000 ||23% |
|$1,000–$9,999 ||31% |
|$10,000–$24,999 ||13% |
|$25,000–$49,999 ||6% |
|$50,000–$99,999 ||8% |
|$100,000–$249,999 ||8% |
|$250,000–$499,999 ||4% |
|More than $500,000||7% |
| || |
Where do you purchase gift certificates/gift cards used in your incentive programs?
|Retailer ||62% |
|Online vendors ||36% |
|Incentive providers ||32% |
|Manufacturer/service provider ||31% |
|Reseller ||7% |
|Catalog ||3% |
|Other ||6% |
On average, how much do you spend on gift certificates/gift cards per recipient, per year?
|Less than $25 ||10% |
|$25–$49 ||20% |
|$50–$99 ||18% |
|$100–$149 ||16% |
|$150-$199 ||5% |
|$200-$499 ||15% |
|$500–$999 ||8% |
|More than $1,000 ||8% |
Where to Spend
Which of the following types of gift certificates/gift cards have you purchased for your incentive programs in the past year?
|Dining/restaurant ||56% |
|Retail/department store ||42% |
|Entertainment ||38% |
|Travel ||27% |
|Online merchant ||25% |
|Open-loop/multiple-merchant ||18% |
|Gas/automotive ||17% |
|Service/experiential (e.g. a tour) ||15% |
|Home improvement ||14% |
|Other ||16% |
Swipe Versus Click
What form of gift card/certificate do you offer?
|Physical card/certificate ||55% |
|Digital card/certificate ||6% |
|Both physical and digital ||39% |
Spreading the Wealth
How do you use gift certificates/gift cards?
|Sales incentives ||55% |
|Business gifts ||49% |
|Service awards ||46% |
|Employee engagement ||45% |
|Non-sales recognition ||27% |
|Spot rewards ||23% |
|Consumer promotion ||16% |
|Safety awards ||14% |
|Wellness programs ||13% |
|Other ||9% |
What are the primary benefits of offering gift certificates/gift cards in incentive programs?
|Ease of administration ||64% |
|Broad audience appeal ||50% |
|Flexible redemption options ||50% |
|Perceived value ||47% |
|Cost effectiveness ||41% |
|Lasting impact with recipients ||37% |
|ROI tracking ||13% |
|Other ||3% |
Cards Versus Gifts
How effective are gift certificates/gift cards compared with merchandise?
|Equally as effective ||28% |
|Less effective than merchandise||5% |
|More effective than merchandise||59% |
|Do not use merchandise awards ||5% |
|Not sure ||3% |
Cards Versus Cash
How effective are gift certificates/gift cards compared with cash?
|Equally as effective ||39% |
|Less effective than cash ||9% |
|More effective than cash ||29% |
|Do not use cash ||20% |
|Not sure ||3% |