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Logoed, Branded Merchandise and Gift Cards Lead Reward Preferences

An Incentive Research Foundation and Incentive Marketing Association study, “Industry Outlook for 2019, Merchandise, Gift Card, and Event Gifting,” demonstrates the potential growth for brands and gift cards in traditional business gift and in imprinted products programs.
Logoed brand-name merchandise tops the list of merchandise rewards and gifts in the latest IRF and IMA “Industry Outlook” study, with consumer electronics the clear favorite, followed by clothing/apparel, sunglasses, sporting/golf items, food gifts, watches/jewelry, and plaques/trophies. Runners up are office accessories, luggage, local handmade goods and crafts, housewares, and flowers. Average value of the reward or gift was $160. 
The study, based on a survey of nearly 500 end-users and resellers, found similar trends in gift cards: 73% are brand specific; 76% open loop; 30% have restricted use; and 24% of respondents use vouchers. Surprisingly, over two thirds of buyers say they source gift cards at retail. The most popular merchant types in the survey are coffee, dining, exclusively online retailers, general big-box stores, electronics, music/movies, department stores, home improvement, sporting goods, sunglasses, and gas. Other popular categories are clothing/apparel, travel, beauty, bookstores, accessories and jewelry, grocery, and drugstore. 
The study found a generally favorable climate for increased budgets in all categories, notably overall budgets, technology spend, communications, and the number of participants earning a reward. It identified the following factors that affect award selection: 
The company’s financial forecast
Programs used by competitors
Perception of the public
Perception of other internal stakeholders.
Click here for the complete study. 
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