Employers are spending an average of $42.52 on gifts for staffers this holiday season, an increase of nearly 20% from last year, according to a new exclusive survey from ASI. While increased spending was not universal, ASI's 2011 gift-giving study found that average spending on clients is up, rising 13.9% to $29.91.
Gift cards and cash remain the most popular gifts for employees; 38% of respondents plan to give gift cards, while 24% expect to provide cash bonuses. Meanwhile, the most popular gifts for clients and prospects are food and beverages, with 32% of respondents saying they'll be giving those items.
Additionally, the survey found that holiday gift programs positively impact sales. Nearly a quarter of respondents say gift-giving generates a lead or sale, while 27% say they've received a referral. More commonly, the positive effects are broader, such as receiving a thank you (69%) or generating goodwill (60%). "No matter what the economic forecast," said Timothy M. Andrews, president and CEO of ASI, "rewarding employees for their hard work and thanking clients for placing orders remains a wonderful way to spread a little cheer."