New Incentive Research Report Spotlights Strength of Non-Cash Rewards

Recently, I had the opportunity to review a new study published by our industry colleagues at the Incentive Research Foundation.


The report, “Industry Outlook for 2023,” polled hundreds of individuals in North America and Europe responsible for running non-cash incentive programs, including merchandise and event gifting programs. Collectively, those polled provided valuable insights about these programs, including budgeting and spending activities.


More importantly, results from the report confirm what we at All Star Incentive Marketing has been advising our clients for years. “Given companies’ desire to attract and retain talent, non-cash incentive programs are a valuable tool in the efforts to maximize human resource availability and productivity,” the report states.


The study provides a bullish view of the non-cash incentive industry for both those who work on the corporate side and the third-party side. With stubborn inflation, the majority see the value of non-cash incentives as being even greater than when the cost of living was lower.


In fact, a new question was added to the study, asking about how inflation has impacted the value of non-cash incentives. “Receiving a non-cash incentive may be a particularly welcome gesture when household incomes are stretched, and discretionary spending is more limited,” according to respondents.


In North America, 50% of respondents believe high inflation increases the value of non-cash incentives, double the percentage (23%) who believe inflation makes non-cash incentives less valuable.


Other highlights of the report present an ongoing positive view of non-cash incentives like merchandise.


North American spending on incentive merchandise has grown, with 44% saying their merchandise spending increased in the past year compared to only 14% who said they spent less. The net increase has grown significantly since 2020 when many incentive programs switched from travel to merchandise as rewards.


In North America, clothing apparel (66%), logoed brand merchandise (56%), and food gifts (53%) placed at the top of merchandise choices, according to the IRF.


At the same time, there has been a positive shift in spending on event gifts in 2022, both in North America and Europe. While budgets increased for event gifts in 2022, the outlook for 2023 is even more positive. In North America, 62% plan to increase their event gift budgets, with only 12% planning a decrease.


At All Star Incentive Marketing, we pride ourselves in offering merchandise awards from the world’s most recognized and respected brands. From electronics and sporting goods to fashion apparel and home goods, our brand portfolio has products to delight any recipient. View our vast selection here.  

Brian Galonek


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