ASI Survey Says 44% of Companies Are Rewarding Employees With Holiday Gifts

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Companies are spending less on client gifts, but thanking more customers in 2016.

The annual corporate gift-giving report released today by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) found 44% of companies are rewarding employees with gifts or cash this year. And, while companies are spending a little less overall on client gifts, they’re thanking more customers and prospects in 2016.

The surveyed companies thanking employees for their year-long efforts with a holiday gift or cash plan to spend a median of $45 per employee, a dollar more than last year, ASI’s nationwide Corporate Gift Giving Study found.

The survey found 32% of companies plan to dole out gifts to customers this holiday season, compared to 37% last year and 42% in 2014. The number of companies thanking employees has remained steady the last two years.

“During the holiday season, it’s a great idea to recognize, thank and remember employees and loyal customers, as well as clients whose business you’d love to get,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “You don’t have to spend much, and your thoughtfulness will deliver a strong ROI all year long.”

The majority of companies (80%) are planning to spend the same amount as last year on all gifts, while 11% will increase their spending, ASI’s nationwide survey found. Half of survey respondents will spend $45 or more per employee, while half will only spend $25 or more per customer/prospect, down from $34 last year.

“Whether it’s uncertainty over the economy or the presidential election, companies are more selective in 2016 when it comes to corporate gift-giving, but spreading more good cheer,” said Nate Kucsma, ASI’s director of market research, who found companies are giving gifts to an average of 184 clients and prospects this holiday season, up from 154 last year.

Cash bonuses and gift cards remain the two most popular gifts for employees, with cash on the rise (9% increase over last year) and gift cards falling (5% decrease). Food or beverages and apparel are the next two most popular employee gifts.

When it comes to customer gifts, food or beverages remain the top choice for nearly half (47%) of companies, a decline of 6%, suggesting companies are looking to other gifts like calendars, gift cards, apparel and drinkware, along with popular tech gifts like a virtual reality headset, 2.4Ghz drone, bluetooth earbuds and headphones.

Seventy percent of gifts given will have the company’s logo imprinted on them, an increase over last year.

ASI also found 4% of surveyed companies plan to spend $250 or more per lucky client, perhaps with higher-end gifts found in ASI’s ESP® product search engine, where distributors throughout the $22 billion promotional products industry search among nearly a million items to brand for companies, nonprofits, schools and organizations, which typically give the logoed gifts away.

Some of ESP’s more elaborate corporate gifts for 2016 include a four-season cooler table kit, which is an all-in-one end table, bar table and cooler from Showdown Displays (asi/87188), as well as a 40-inch electric digital stainless-steel smokehouse that’s remote controlled and monitors temperature, time, power and light, from Power Sales And Advertising (asi/79083).

About a quarter of companies surveyed by ASI will not give gifts to employees, while a third remained unsure at the time of the survey, sent out October 26-November 6 to decision-makers at companies throughout the U.S. By contrast, over a third (36%) of companies will not give gifts to customers, and 32% are not sure.

For more information about ASI’s gift-giving survey or ASI’s other research reports, contact Nate Kucsma at nkucsma(at)asicentral(dot)com.

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®) serves a network of 23,500 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $22 billion promotional products industry. ASI’s flagship product, the technology platform ESP®, manages the industry’s entire supply and marketing chain. ASI also produces award-winning digital and print content, live events and educational programs that enable companies in 61 countries to be more efficient, productive and profitable. ASI’s Counselor® magazine provides the most authoritative business content in the industry, and the ASI Certification Program features 500+ live and online education courses for over 40,000 professionals. The company, family owned and operated since 1962, is proud to have been consistently ranked among the “Best Places to Work” in Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA. For more info: http://www.asicentral.com.

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