by Leo Jakobson | April 16, 2018
According to Incentive's 2018 Merchandise IQ survey, incentive program managers continue to see merchandise awards as a key and vital part of their recognition and reward programs, with 45 percent saying their annual budget for merchandise awards is increasing in 2018. And 11.1 percent are seeing an increase of at least 10 percent. That's compared to just 4.3 predicting any decrease.

Employee recognition remains the top reason companies use merchandise awards, accounting for nearly three fifths of the respondents. Increasing sales came in fourth at 41.3 percent. It was behind customer loyalty (46.6 percent) and thanking employees (42.4 percent). Building morale and job satisfaction (37.5 percent) rounded out the top five.  

More than three quarters said the brand name of the award is important.

Here are the full results of Incentive's annual Merchandise IQ Survey for 2018:

What is your company's annual budget for merchandise awards in 2018?
Less than $10,000 48.6%
$10,000 to $24,999 7.8%
$25,000 to $49,999 9.9%
$50,000 to $74,999 5.7%
$75,000 to $149,999 7.1%
$150,000 to $249,999 4.6%
$250,000 to $499,000 6.4%
$500,000 to $999,999 2.5%
$1,000,000 or more 7.4%      

What percentage of your company's overall annual budget for incentive and recognition rewards is allocated to merchandise awards?
10% or less 68.8%
11-25% 15.4%
26-50% 6.8%
51-75% 5.4%
76-99% 1.8%
100% 1.8%

On average, how much will you spend on merchandise awards per recipient in 2018?
Under $50 38.4%
$50 to $99 23.7%
$100 to $199 17.3%
$200 to $499 6.0%
$500 to $999 5.0%
$1,000 to $1,999 3.2%
$2,000 or more 6.4%

How much of a change is this from last year?
Up to 5% increase 24.6%
5-9% increase 9.3%
10-24% increase 6.4%
25-49% increase 3.6%
50%+ increase 1.1%
Same/No change 50.7%
Up to 5% decrease 1.8%
5-9% decrease 0.7%
10-24% decrease 0.4%
25-49% decrease 0.0%
50%+ decrease 1.4%