by Leo Jakobson | May 26, 2015

This appears to be a good year for large incentive merchandise programs, according to Incentive's "2015 Merchandise IQ Survey."

The number of companies spending at least $250,000 on their incentive merchandise programs saw the biggest increase, with 17.9 percent of recipients reporting this spending level in 2015, compared to 10.9 percent in 2014. Those with budgets of $1 million or more grew to 6.9 percent in 2015, versus 5.5 percent in 2014.

The budgets for merchandise awards also grew substantially this year, with 52.5 percent of respondents saying their company increased spending on these awards, compared to 35.4 percent in 2014. Notably, companies increasing these budgets by at least 25 percent more than doubled, from 4.2 percent in 2014 to 9.7 percent in 2015.

Per recipient budgets also grew, with 43.6 percent increasing it, compared to 28.2 percent in 2014. Also, 5.6 percent of respondents said they were increasing per-recipient spending at least 25 percent this year, compared to 0.9 percent in 2014.

Another area of growth was in firms using merchandise awards as part of their incentive travel programs. Respondents reporting this increased more than 25 percent in 2015, with 40.9 percent offering them on trips, compared to 32.3 percent last year.