1. 2013 Fall Pulse survey shows optimism
- Anticipated Changes This Year With Regards To Merchandise Non-cash Incentive Programs Award Selections
- 1.19% indicated “Increased use of debit/prepaid gift cards”
- 2.13% indicated “increased merchandise award value” and “added debit/prepaid gift cards
- Third Party respondents are significantly more likely to anticipate the following changes to merchandise non-cash award selection than Corporate respondents:
- 1. Increased use of debit/prepaid gift cards
- 2. Added debit/prepaid gift cards
Virtual gift cards have become increasingly prevalent, while mobile apps and gamification are being incorporated into merchandise and travel programs alike
- In the future, these tactical elements of technology will be woven into an overall digital strategy.
Most importantly, the last four IRF surveys have revealed an increasing trend in planners reporting the economy as having a positive impact on their incentive programs.
- Overall, 42% of planners are increasing their budgets in 2014 and only 9% decreasing them.
- Even better, of the top two anticipated changes listed by incentive planners, all revolved around positive investments. In this survey, about one-fifth of planners either anticipated including experience-related products in the future or increasing the use of gift cards in their programs.
- Prepaid Gift Card usage by consumers and by organizations in their incentive, reward and recognition programs has soared over the past decade.
- While gift certificates have been in use for generations, their colloquial image barely resembles the sophisticated “gift card industry” that thrives today.
- In 2012, gift cards, referred to as “prepaid” cards in this report, have become the most popular gift among consumers shopping for friends and relatives and the tool of choice for businesses hoping to motivate employees, customers and partners.
- The research conducted for this paper―both through a review of past studies and from the results of two surveys we conducted―revealed several key findings:
- 1. Prepaid cards are now the most frequently used reward in corporate incentive programs
- 2. Prepaid cards are being used as incentives across the spectrum, from spot rewards to holiday bonuses and for merchandise, dining, travel and entertainment
- 3. Closed cards are still the most commonly used type of prepaid card in incentive and reward programs, but they are losing ground to open cards. Restricted cards are a distant third
- 4. All prepaid cards, but especially open cards, are near cash substitutes. Open cards can be used virtually anywhere with the same ease as cash or personal debit cards.
- 5. Cards of any kind can be redeemed online, or exchanged on secondary markets for other cards or cash.
- Despite this, card recipients demonstrate a strong preference for cards over cash
- 6. Prepaid cards are among the most popular gifts for recipients (whether as gifts from friends and family or as rewards from employers and other organizations).
- a. As above, prepaid cards are much more popular among recipients than cash.
- b. A full 44 percent of our card recipient survey respondents told us that prepaid cards are their favorite type of gift or reward.
- c. When offered a prepaid card or equivalent cash, five times as many of our respondents chose the prepaid card;
- 7. The majority of incentive planners believe prepaid cards can be more meaningful, personal and impactful than cash; almost half believe that, dollar for dollar, they are the most effective reward available.
- 8. More than 75 percent believe that they are among the most effective of all rewards ― especially in driving loyalty and engagement.
- 9.According to Incentive Magazine’s 2011 Gift Card IQ Survey, about 75 percent of organizations use prepaid cards.
- 10.This makes prepaid cards more popular in incentive programs than travel, merchandise and even cash according to the October 2011 report “State of Gift Card Use in the U.S.” by the Incentive Research Foundation.