Companies will spend more rewarding their employees than they do on their clients this holiday season. New research finds that companies plan to spend an average of $42 on gifts for their employees this holiday season compared with $26 spent on each client.
Both those numbers, however, are down from last year, when companies spent an average of $30 on gifts for clients and $43 for gifts for their employees.
"Even during times of economic uncertainty, thanking clients for their business remains one of the smartest things a company can do during the holiday season," said Timothy Andrews, president and CEO of the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) which conducted the research. "Corporate gift-giving never goes out of style and is often rewarded with repeat orders."
Spending more on employees than clients is typical of previous years.
"It’s normal for employers to spend more on employees than clients or prospects," said Andrews. "ASI has conducted the study for three years, and in each of the last three years, employers have spent more. Over that time period, the average has been $39.92 on employees and $27.55 on clients and prospects, a difference of almost 45 percent."
The researchers found that the most common gifts for clients include food and beverages, including food baskets and tins of popcorn with a company logo. Gift cards, cash and apparel were the top gift choices for employees. A majority of gifts for both clients and employees, however, are expected to brandish a company logo.
"Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed this year plan to include their company logo on their holiday gift or its packaging," Andrews said. "That's an even bigger percentage than last year, when 70.6 percent said they'd brand gifts with a logo."
Giving gifts to clients and employees serve a very important purpose for companies, the researchers say. Nearly 63 percent of surveyed respondents say giving client gifts directly improves relationships with clients.
"Survey respondents say giving gifts to clients and prospects results in sales and leads, but that goodwill is the greatest reward. Building good relationships with clients and just saying 'thank you for your business' are still considered sound business investments for most companies," Andrews said. "At this special time of year, it’s heartening to see that the Grinch is in short supply when it comes to corporate gift-giving. No matter what the economic forecast, rewarding employees for their hard work and thanking clients for placing orders remains a wonderful way to spread a little cheer."
The research was based on a nationwide cross section of company decision makers in gift-giving decisions.