Managers Who Call the Shots On B2B Gift Card Use Love Their Flexibility and Ease of Administration

Author: 
SMM Staff

Suppliers of incentive gift cards tout their flexibility, the ease with which gift card programs can be administered, and their versatility in terms of use. Users of gift cards in business settings say they are right on all counts. That’s the takeaway from a new survey of incentive gift card users by Sales & Marketing Management magazine.

Respondents to the magazine’s 2018 Gift Card Survey listed an impressively broad array of ways they put gift cards to work. Recognition/service awards topped the list (66.6%) followed closely by sales incentives (61.5%). A significant percentage of respondents also use gift cards for business gifts (38.4%), marketing campaigns (33.3%), in sales promotions (23%) and in sales training (20.5%).

Here are some other highlights from the survey, which was conducted via email questionnaire:

Managers make the decisions – Fully 41% of survey respondents said they plan, manage and monitor the gift card program for their organization. What are those respondents’ roles? A whopping 77% of respondents listed their job function as sales management, marketing management or executive management.

Annual spend is primarily under $10,000 – The bulk of respondents (61.5%) spend $4,999 or less annually on gift cards. Another 20.5% spend between $5,000 and $9,999. Nearly 13% of respondents (12.8%) spend between $10,000 and $24,999 annually.

Gift card programs are easy to administer – What is the main determining factor that drives companies to use gift cards? More than six in 10 (64%) said they appreciate that gift cards are easy to administer. Another 15% said they fit the incentive budget, and another 15% said they use gift cards because it’s what their recipients want.

Dining out and debit cards are most popular – Survey respondents said gift cards for dining out (56.4%) and debit cards (56.4%) are most popular among their recipients. Gift cards for online shopping such as Amazon was the third most popular category at 43.5%.

Gift cards are purchased year-round – We wanted to know if there was a particular buying season for business-to-business gift card use. Respondents said not really. More than half (53.8%) said they purchase gift cards throughout the year as needed. Two other time periods – November/December and January/February – came in at nearly 18% of respondents each.

Employees are the primary recipients – Employees and customers/clients are the primary recipients of gift cards – and many companies give to both. More than eight in 10 respondents (81.5%) said they present gift cards to employees. A total of 57.8% said they will give gift cards to customers or clients. Partners/vendors are the recipients of 13.1% of respondents.

About the Survey

Sales & Marketing Management magazine sent an email questionnaire to thousands of people with various business-to-business titles across a wide cross-section of industries.