Companies Plan To Spend More On Holiday Gifts

Gift Cards Top Item for Holiday Gift Giving

GiftsA new survey released today by ASI shows that corporate end-buyers plan to spend more per recipient on gifts this holiday season than they did each of the previous three years. Survey results for 2013 reveal that corporations are planning to spend $44.98 per employee and $33.92 for each prospect or client. Data shows buyers are not expecting to give out as many items, but are spending more on the items they do give.

"They'll give fewer but nicer things to their better customers," said Cris Nigro, owner of Proforma Creative Precision (asi/300094). "There are no general gifts like there used to be. I think the top 20% of customers are now getting really more of a gift, while the rest may be getting a card."

Nearly three-quarters of corporate end-buyers plan to spend the same on gifts for employees this year, while 19% plan to spend less. Seth Weiner, owner of Sonic Promos (asi/329865), has clients that have pulled back on their gift giving in recent years, offering something like $10 gift cards for their employees. "When that occurs," Weiner said about the decision to give less, "it's from somebody who isn't concerned with job security or appreciation or necessarily understands how far an item can go."

Gift cards are the number-one item for holiday gift giving. Cash bonuses ranked second, followed closely by food and beverage. Nigro typically recommends Belgian chocolates, but packaging matters as much as the quality of the gift. "If you're going to send food as a gift, I'm very particular about the packaging, because I think it should be excellent," she said. "I tend to go with Astor Chocolate for that because I think their packaging is beautiful."

Nearly two-thirds of corporate holiday gifts will feature a logo on the package. When giving a gift to a client, expressing appreciation is the number-one goal, followed by developing the relationship and generating goodwill. That's why Sonic tailors its branding for its own gifts instead of traditionally placing its logo. "It's not a marketing piece," said Weiner. "It's an acknowledgement of the relationship. That's why we go subtle on the branding or personalize it for the individual."