New IRF Report: Economic Optimism Is High for 2019 Incentive Programs

incentive programs, IRFThe Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF) “Industry Outlook for 2019: Merchandise, Gift Card, and Event Gifting” report reveals a positive outlook for 2019, according to 84 percent of those surveyed.

The study, which included 498 respondents, found economic optimism to be a driving force of increased spend in incentive merchandise and gift card programs. Here are 6 of the most findings for 2019 incentive programs that reveal just that.

Economic Net Optimism Is High

Suppliers are the most optimistic segment, according to the Fall 2018 Net Optimism Index for incentive merchandise and gift card programs. Overall, spend was up from 21 percent (2017) to 43 percent.

Per-Person Spend Is Increasing

Per-person spend saw a considerable increase from prior years with an average per-person spend of $824.

Average Branded Gift Card Reward Value Is $100

The branded card landscape, specifically gift cards that can be used at coffee houses, are in vogue followed by dining and online retailers.

Average Per-Attendee Event Gifting Spend Is $210

Corporate audiences are using gifts for incentive trips, internal meetings and customer events, while suppliers use them across a range of meeting types.

High Level of Local Retail Sourcing for Gift Cards

Corporate respondents—more than two-thirds—are using local retailers to purchase gift cards for their programs.

Low Rates of Corporate Reporting & Analysis

Half of all corporate respondents are not reporting or analyzing non-cash programs. Third-party providers are commonly reviewing earning and redemption reports, participation reports and behavior-change analysis.

This past October, the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), IRF and Financial and Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP) also released the first joint study of the global incentive travel industry. More than 1,000 senior-level respondents from 80 countries painted an overall rosy picture for incentive travel in 2019, including increased buyer budgets, use of all-inclusive destinations and interest in wellness-themed incentive programs (wellness trumped CSR), as well as more qualifiers than ever before.

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