The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) has released results from its annual corporate gift-giving survey showing spending on employees and clients is the highest it’s been in four years.
Companies giving gifts told ASI they plan to spend an average of $44.98 for employees and $33.92 for clients and prospects this holiday season, compared to $41.70 and $26.48, respectively, given last year. Data shows buyers are not expecting to give out as many items, but are spending more on the items they do give.
Gift cards (42.4%), cash bonuses (29.2%), food and beverages (27.5%) and apparel (11.2%) are the top gifts responding companies plan to give in 2013. The popularity of food and beverages – like perennial food baskets or etched wine bottles branded with a company’s logo – rose nearly nine percentage points over last year.
The 2013 Corporate Gift Spending Survey was conducted by ASI, the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the $19.4 billion promotional products industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. Promotional products are branded items like pens, mugs and T-shirts given away by companies, organizations and non-profits to advertise their company, brand or event.
“Thanking employees for a job well done or expressing appreciation to loyal clients with a thoughtful gift is a smart business decision even the smallest company can make,” said Timothy M. Andrews, ASI president and chief executive officer. “The fact that companies are giving more this year speaks directly to the improved economy, but corporate generosity can pay dividends all year long through repeat business or harder working employees.”
According to ASI’s 4th annual survey, nearly two-thirds of responding companies said they will include their company logo either on their gift or on its packaging, proving the continuing popularity of branding.
Most surveyed companies said they give gifts as a way of expressing appreciation (67.7%), developing relationships (59.3%) and generating goodwill toward their company (56.6%).
Popular corporate gifts this year include a tequila shot glass carved from Himalayan pink salt and a gourmet surf and turf meal sent in a reusable galvanized bucket. Andrews said clients always appreciate useful gifts, like logoed scented pens made from 100% recycled newspaper and recycled plastic, and ever-popular office accessories like USB flash drives that double as bottle openers or an iPhone speaker that can also charge three devices simultaneously.
When asked about the best corporate gift they ever received, respondent answers ranged from the humble – a handwritten thank you note, wall calendar with personalized photos and a plaque with an inspirational message – to the extravagant: A case of steaks, two extra vacation weeks, cashmere blanket, iPad and computer backpack.
For its survey, ASI conducted a nationwide survey of respondents from a cross-section of industries who were screened to have a personal role in decisions about procuring corporate gifts for either employees or clients/prospects. ASI compiled data from 561 respondents, with a margin of error of 4.0 at 95% level of confidence.