. 2019 Merchandise IQ: Which Incentive Rewards Motivate Most? | Northstar Meetings Group

2019 Merchandise IQ: Which Incentive Rewards Motivate Most?

Latest research from Incentive on top merchandise reward categories, recipient spend and more.

Merchandise Hand Getty stock IncFall19

How will merchandise-rewards budgets change in 2020? A third of the respondents to Incentive's Merchandise IQ 2019, an exclusive study of 141 incentive professionals conducted this summer, said their budgets will increase, while 63 percent said their budgets will stay the same. More than half (61 percent) of the sample will have less than $25,000 to spend on rewards next year, while 6 percent will have $1 million or more to play with.

Brand-name goods matter, according to more than 75 percent. And online purchasing is the preferred way to buy rewards, said 57 percent, followed by promotional-product/ad-specialty distributors (47 percent). Surprisingly, in this era of online shopping, more than a third of respondents buy from a print catalog.

Price is the top factor influencing merchandise selection, followed by perceived value and popular trends.

Salespeople and consumers/customers are the main audiences targeted for awards by respondents, while the top goals for rewards are to recognize employees, thank employees and to build morale/job satisfaction, followed by building customer loyalty and increasing sales.

Nineteen percent of respondents indicated they will replace incentive travel  programs with merchandise rewards in 2020. The main reasons cited were budget constraints (44 percent), and safety and security concerns (30 percent).

Target Audience

Which of the following audiences do your merchandise awards target?

  • 55% Salespeople
  • 52% Consumers/customers
  • 41% Non-sales personnel
  • 23% Dealers/distributors
  • 5%  Other

Rewarding Reasons

What are your objectives for using awards?

  • 70% Recognize employees
  • 59% Thank employees
  • 58% Build morale/job satisfaction
  • 46% Build customer loyalty
  • 46% Increase sales
  • 41% Thank clients
  • 30% Recognize service
  • 32% Improve employee loyalty
  • 28% Improve customer service
  • 28% Recruit/increase retention
  • 26% Foster teamwork
  • 17% Increase market share
  • 12% Improve employee health/supplemental health-care benefits
  • 11% Sell new accounts
  • 10% Introduce new products
  • 6%   Improve safety

Holding Steady

How will your merchandise reward budget change from 2019 to 2020?

  • 32% Increase
  • 5% Decrease
  • 63% No change

Purchase Place

Where do you purchase merchandise rewards?

  • 57% Online
  • 47% Promotional product/specialty distributor
  • 36% Print catalog
  • 34% Manufacturer's rep/distributor
  • 23% Reseller
  • 22% Manufacturer's special-markets department
  • 21% Retailer

Top Gifts

Which of the following merchandise rewards do you offer?

  • 57% Food and beverage
  • 55% Apparel
  • 40% Electronics (less than $100 value)
  • 34% Desktop/office accessories
  • 31% Electronics ($100-$999 value)
  • 30% Plaques/trophies
  • 24% Watches/clocks
  • 22% Books, music, movies
  • 21% Luggage/leather goods
  • 19% Outdoor/leisure equipment
  • 15% Appliances/cookware
  • 14% Jewelry
  • 12% Crystal/tabletop
  • 11% Cameras
  • 11% Sporting goods
  • 10% Home furnishings
  • 9%   Tools
  • 7%   Electronics (more than $1,000 value)

Buying Power

Who makes the decisions for purchasing rewards?

  • 48% C-suite (CEO, COO, CMO, etc.)
  • 13% Sales vice president
  • 10% Office manager
  • 7%  Marketing manager
  • 5%  Sales manager
  • 5%  Marketing vice president
  • 5%  HR manager
  • 4%  HR vice president
  • 3%  Executive Assistant

Deciding Factors

Which of these other factors influence your merchandise selection?

  • 69% Price point
  • 55% Perceived value
  • 48% Popular trends
  • 42% Program goals
  • 37% Ease of fulfillment
  • 30% Audience demographics
  • 3%  Other

Per-Person Spend

On average, how much will you spend on merchandise rewards per recipient in 2020?

  • 30% Under $50
  • 27% $50 to $99
  • 18% $100 to $199
  • 14% $200 to $499
  • 8%   $500 to $999
  • 1%   $1,000 to $1,999
  • 2%   $2,000 or more

On Brand

When selecting merchandise rewards for your program, how important are brand names

  • 32% Very important
  • 51% Somewhat important
  • 17% Not at all important

Total Spend

What is your company's 2020 budget for merchandise rewards?

  • 44% Less than $10,000
  • 17% $10,000-$24,999
  • 6%  $25,000-$49,999
  • 6%  $50,000-$74,999
  • 4%  $75,000-$149,999
  • 6%  $150,000-$249,999
  • 7%  $259,000-$499,999
  • 4%  $500,000-$999,999
  • 6%  $1 million or more