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Optimism for Recovery Reported in IRF's Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise and Gift Cards

·3 min read

The Incentive Research Foundation's Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise and Gift Cards reports a more optimistic outlook for 2021 than might be expected after the challenges resulting from the pandemic. The new study provides useful insights and benchmarks on non-cash reward types, average spend, and how incentive programs have changed in response to the pandemic.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Incentive Research Foundation's- Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise and Gift Cards reports a more optimistic outlook for 2021 than might be expected after the challenges resulting from the pandemic. The new study provides useful insights and benchmarks on non-cash reward types, average spend, and how incentive programs have changed in response to the pandemic.

"The good news is the value of incentives has been established within organizations leading to budgets holding steady in many cases. Incentive programs looked very different in 2020 with many organizations using merchandise or gift cards to keep teams motivated while incentive travel is on hold," said Stephanie Harris, IRF President. "As look toward 2021, the effectiveness of merchandise and gift cards as motivators will continue to be a key to the growth and success of many incentive programs."

The IRF surveyed 322 industry professionals, including corporate, supplier, and third party segments, tracking key metrics over eleven years. The study provides trends in economic optimism, budgets, and award types for incentive programs. Key findings in Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise and Gift Cards include:

  • Gift Card Spend Up During Pandemic: 35% of respondents increased their gift card spend overall, 19% spent less, with the rest spending about the same on gift cards.

  • Merchandise Spend Remained Stable During Pandemic: 33% increased their merchandise spend overall, with 31% spending less, and the rest spending about the same on merchandise.

  • Outlook for 2021 is Optimistic: Industry stakeholders have optimistic expectations for 2021, with 64% reporting they expect their company to have strong financial performance, down from 85% this time last year before the pandemic.

  • Incentive Budgets See Modest Increases for 2021: 2021 budgets are expected to show modest increases of 7% overall. The highest increases are for program technology (26%), gift cards (16%), and communications (16%).

  • Increased Use of Gift Cards and Merchandise in 2021: A net increase for in the use of gift cards (33%) and merchandise (24%) is expected for 2021.

The release of the IRF's Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise and Gift Cards was supported by IRF Research Advocacy Partner, Bonusly.

To view or download a copy of the Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise and Gift Cards please visit: https://theirf.org/research/industry-outlook-for-2021-merchandise-and-gift-cards/3036/

For insights into the current state and outlook for incentive travel, view or download a copy of the 2020 Incentive Travel Industry Index: https://theirf.org/research/2020-incentive-industry-travel-index/3026/

About the IRF:
The Incentive Research Foundation (TheIRF.org) funds and promotes research to advance the science and enhance the awareness and appropriate application of motivation and incentives in business and industry globally. The goal is to increase the understanding, effective use, and resultant benefits of incentives to businesses that currently use incentives and others interested in improved performance.

Media Contact

Andy Schwarz, IRF Media Relations, Incentive Research Foundation, 703-651-8189, aschwarz@theirf.org

SOURCE Incentive Research Foundation