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by Leo Jakobson | December 01, 2015

This year seems to have been a good one for the use of gift cards in core sales incentive programs -- but little else, according to the Incentive "2015 Gift Card IQ Survey." The number of respondents saying they used gift cards and certificates for sales incentives was up more than 5 percent, to 45.7 percent. In terms of budgets, more respondents said they are spending more per recipient, per year in every budget category above $150 this year. In fact, at least 50 percent more respondents are spending in the $150-$199, $500-$999, and $1,000 or more categories in 2015 than were in 2014.

Those four categories amount to about one third (31.2 percent) of the total respondents, but are likely to cover more sales incentive programs than non-sales recognition programs, which tend to offer smaller awards. Of the lower value awards, only one -- less than $25 -- was up, and that only 1 percent. That is reflected in the number of respondents who said they use gift cards and certificates for business gifts, service awards, non-sales recognition, safety awards, spot rewards, and wellness programs -- as well as to recognize performance -- all were down substantially.

The Incentive "2015 Gift Card IQ Survey" was conducted from June 29 to Sept. 21, 2015, and received a total of 177 responses.