by Leo Jakobson | January 29, 2015

This will be a good year for the incentive business, according to Incentive's "2015 Sales IQ Survey." The growing optimism that many leaders of the incentive industry described in 2014 has translated into growing budgets in 2015.

That seems to be true especially for the biggest sales incentive programs in the biggest companies. Firms with budgets of $1 million or more for their incentive, recognition, and reward programs nearly doubled, to 15.5 percent in 2015 compared to 8.2 percent last year. The same is true of the average amount spent per recipient in sales incentive programs. Those budgeting $5,000 or more per recipient also nearly doubled, to 9.1 percent this year, compared to 4.7 percent in 2014.

Of the companies that increased their incentive budgets in 2015, 41 percent did so to seek sales growth, 24.8 percent did so to retain top staff, and 21.9 percent did so to gain market share.

Beyond that, more than twice as many companies added incentive programs as cancelled them. This year, 17.7 percent increased the number of incentive programs they offer, while just 7.6 percent cancelled programs. Of those who added programs, 40.5 percent did so due to budget increases and 28.6 percent did so due to higher sales. Another 26.2 percent added programs because of the improving economy and 11.9 percent did so because of the decrease in public perception issues.