The Results of Our 2016 Corporate Gifting Survey… and Boy, Were They Surprising

We ran a survey to shed light & clarify some of the most burning questions around the $120bn corporate gifting industry. Today, we’re pulling back the curtain to reveal all …

We ran a survey to shed light & clarify some of the most burning questions around the $120bn corporate gifting industry.

Today, we’re pulling back the curtain to reveal all the insights.

“But the Emperor has nothing at all on!” said an innocent child in Hans Christen Andersen’s short story, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Many of us grew up hearing this tale that tells the story of an Emperor who walks through a parade with his set of new clothes. Afraid to seem unfit or uneducated, everyone around the Emperor pretended to admire his new outfit. Until an innocent child, too young to care, pointed out the obvious truth and opened the eyes of everyone around him: the Emperor was butt naked.

 

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Since it was released, this story has been used as a metaphor to highlight collective denial, and encourage children to speak up if they know the truth.

Today, we’re calling out “our” naked emperor: the corporate gifting industry.

We, the people, have become complacent with the status quo of corporate gifting. We have followed the crowd for so long, that we’ve stopped finding ways to become better gifters. As gift recipients, we are used to the feeling of disappointment a sucky corporate creates. This should not be the case.

It’s time to improve the corporate gifting industry, and you’re invited to join us. So take a front row seat and watch us pull back the curtain on these exclusive insights that will make you stand out as a corporate gift giver.

 

1 Most people receive corporate gifts during the holiday season (62%)

316 out of 513 people receive most of their corporate gifts during the holidays. Making this time, the most predictable and least impactful to send a gift. In other words, if you want to send a gift that will likely go unnoticed, then the holiday season is the perfect time to do that. 😉

 

 

2 Gifting is more meaningful outside of the holidays

The timing of a corporate gift is crucial. When you give a corporate gift plays a major role in the impression it generates on the gift recipient. People want to receive a gift at significant milestones, whether professional or personal.

 

At what time does a corporate gift (not bonuses) have the most positive impact on your professional relationship with your employer?

 

At what time does a corporate gift have the most positive impact on your professional relationship with a company/individual that is not your employer (i.e. vendor, partner)?

 

3 Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always have to send a physical gift

92% of gift recipients do not think it’s necessary to get a physical gift from someone they don’t know well, and 88% of gift recipients do not believe it is necessary to get a physical gift from someone they know well.

An Alyce user once told me that a vendor sent him a fruit basket during the holiday season (how typical). By the time he came back to his office a week later, all that was left of the fruit basket was a moldy mess. #Fail

You see how it all starts to make sense now? Sending a gift digitally (via email) empowers the gift recipient to choose where they’d like the gift delivered.

At Alyce, gift recipients can put down their desired shipping address, whether that’s their office or aunt Jodie’s house. It’s up to them.

 

When you receive a gift from a business contact that you don't know well (i.e. new vendor, network contact) how important is it to get something physical?

 

When you receive a gift from a business contact that you know well (i.e. co-worker, employer, partner, or realtor) how important is it to get something physical?

 

4 People are unhappy with the corporate gifts they receive

Given the opportunity, 88.7% of the respondents would exchange a corporate gift for something more suited to their interests, and 48.3% of them would prefer to do it anonymously.

Sadly, most corporate gifts that are sent with good intentions are completely unrelated to the needs or interest of the recipients. Or sometimes worse, completely useless for them. Just Google corporate gift ideas and you’ll see firsthand how depressing some gifts are.

No wonder 90% of gift recipients want to exchange their corporate gifts.

 

Given the opportunity, would you exchange a $50 generic corporate gift for something more suitable to your interests or needs (no extra fees involved)?

 

5 Most of us receive corporate swag every quarter

6 out of every 10 people receive a corporate gift at least twice a year, if not more. So, before you send swag, imagine how many bottle openers, thumb drives, and travel mugs your gift recipient already has. Or worse, imagine how many similar swag gifts your gift recipient has already trashed.

At least 62.3% of people receive corporate gifts more than three times a year.

Gifting alone doesn’t allow someone to stand out, but sending the right gift does Click To Tweet

 

On average, how often do you receive corporate/promotional swag (i.e. pens, messenger bag, fleece jacket, or similar item with the grifter's logo on it)?

 

6 Most corporate swag never sees the light of day

Every year, US companies shed $20.5 billion on corporate swag to promote their brand. Yet only 1 in every 10 people regularly uses corporate swag in public. And considering that 24% trash it right away, swag is one of the most inefficient corporate gifts.

That’s close to $18.5 billion wasted annually on corporate swag gifts that people never use!

1 in every 3 people trash swag gifts with a logo right away Click To Tweet

 

What do you do with the majority of promotional swag gifts you receive?

 

7 The truth is, people don’t want to receive swag

Swag is like the first slice of bread in a bag. Everyone touches it, but nobody wants it. When presented with a choice, 90.5 % of people do not want to receive corporate swag as a gift.

7 out of every 10 people would like to receive a gift that has been uniquely picked based on their interests.

 

If you were given a corporate gift with a value of $50, which would you most like to receive (other than cash)?

 

8 Uniquely picked gifts encourage people to do business with a company

70% firmly believe that a uniquely picked gift will encourage them to do business with a company. In contrast, corporate swag would discourage 11% of people to do business with a company.

In simpler words, unique gifts are 2.3 times more impactful compared to swag.

 

How would receiving the following $50 corporate gifts influence your decision to continue to do business (i.e. contract renewal, hire business again, renew subscription, etc.) with an individual/company?

 

How would receiving any of the following $50 corporate gifts influence your decision to do business for the first time (i.e. purchase, sign-up, etc.) with a company/individual?

 

9 Swag creates the strongest negative impact

Swag does little to create a positive impact on your professional relationships. Partly because people view swag gifts more like advertising strategies, rather than thoughtful acts of kindness.

 

How would receiving corporate/promotional swag (i.e. messenger bag, fleece jacket, or similar item with the gifter's logo on it) impact your professional relationship with...

 

10 Gift baskets do little to improve relationships

Compared to swag, generic gifts like gift baskets don’t create a negative impact on your professional relationships. But they do little to improve relationships.

Therefore around half of the time, sending generic gifts might even be pointless.

 

How would a generic gift (i.e. gift baskets, chocolates) impact your professional relationship with...

 

11 Uniquely picked gifts create the strongest positive impact

8 in every 10 people have said that uniquely picked gifts will create a positive impact on behalf of the gifter. That’s 46% more effective than generic gifts!

 

How would receiving a gift that has been uniquely picked for (you based on your personal interests) impact your professional relationship with...

About the survey respondents

Most of them were male.

 

Are you male or female?

 

The majority were between 30-50 years old.

 

What is your age?

 

Entrepreneurs, marketers, and salespeople were the most popular job roles within the respondents.

 

Which of the following best describes your role in your organization?

 

Middle management and executives were among the most popular job levels.

 

Which of the following best describes your current job level?

 

Thanks to all who made this survey possible

Once again, thanks to everyone who took the time to share their insights.

In addition, thanks to our amazing survey partners: AddShoppers, Drift, Mixergy, Moz, Crystal, and WeWork.

September 12, 2016
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Andres A.

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The Results of Our 2016 Corporate Gifting Survey… and Boy, Were They Surprising

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