5 Things You Should Know About Incentive Budgets Now

January 15, 2021

In a turbulent year, forecasting for recognition and incentive programs can seem challenging. The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) has just released the Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise & Gift Cards study, capturing the changes of 2020 and forecasting for 2021.  The outlook is indeed positive - strong financial performance in 2021 is expected by the majority of corporate program owners.

Here are 5 things you should know about incentive budgets now:

  1. Average annual per person spend for non-cash rewards programs is holding steady at $764 per person, but 59% of program participants receive a reward valued at under $250. This means that there are high value outliers pushing the average higher.  4% of program participants receive rewards exceeding $5,000.

  2. Average value of a single merchandise award is $160, but 47% of participants receive a reward valued at under $100.  $100 remains the most common merchandise reward value.

  3. Average value of a single gift card award is $120, but 79% of participants receive a reward valued at under $100. $50 remains the most common gift card denomination.

  4. Overall budgets are increasing, but only slightly. Interestingly, the number of participants earning a reward is increasing at a greater rate. (Next Level tip: This is a best practice, as top performing companies try to reward a broad audience.)

  5. Corporate program owners forecast increased use of merchandise (13%) and gift cards (29%) in 2021.

At Next Level, we’re experts at motivation. We would be happy to help you determine your 2021 budget and design a program to hit your goals.

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