by Alex Palmer | June 25, 2015
A new study from the Incentive Federation examines what companies are using incentives and the types of reward they prefer. The results show that a substantial amount of small businesses are using reward and recognitions programs, and that electronics and food and beverage merchandise are the top reward types.

The study, conducted by Intellective Group, sampled firms with at least $1 million in annual revenue, asked the respondents about their goals and the frequency of their programs, the types of awards they use, and how they measure success.

Most of the smaller firms responding to the survey report that they spend less than $50,000 per year on sales incentive programs. This scales larger as firms grow. Firms with revenue of $10 million or more annually report spending significantly more on their incentive programs.

Likewise, the use of technology to administer or evaluate programs appears to grow along with the company. A little more than one-third of the largest companies reported having "strong program-specific technology" in place. Another a top priority for organizations is ensuring the rewards go to the right people. 

As for the particular type of rewards, electronics came in as the top choice for merchandise rewards, followed by food and beverage, and apparel. Other popular categories are sporting goods, luggage, watches and clocks, and home décor. For sales programs specifically, the top merchandise categories are food and beverage, electronics, and apparel.
"As the use of non-cash incentives and rewards continues to grow in the agile economy, understanding and benchmarking how these programs are designed and supported is important both for program owners and their partner suppliers," said Jessica Tadlock, managing director of the Incentive Federation, in a statement. 

She added that the Federation's goal is to help spread this information in order to raise awareness about the industry and engage others who can help bolster the incentive market. The Federation also plans to further explore these issues in a forthcoming series of white papers on incentive program design, focused on these topics:

·         Program Goals and Objectives
·         Award Program Spending
·         Engaging Outside Program Support
·         Program Communications, Technology and Reporting

"In addition to watching for insightful white papers being released this summer, now is a good time to support the Federation's work, especially our volume study," Tadlock added. "The Federation volume studies are often cited by many prominent industry players."