by Lisa A. Grimaldi | June 23, 2015
U.S. Companies spent $77 billion on incentives last year, according to a study conducted by the Incentive Federation Inc. The study of 234 professionals with responsibilities related to incentive programs also revealed that small businesses take advantage of incentives with employees and customers, a practice that previously was thought to be confined to larger corporations. Other key findings of the study show that the most important incentive-program design factor -- whether for sales, channel or employee programs -- is making sure the rewards are received by the right people. Small businesses typically spend less than $50,000 per year on their incentive programs, though they will spend more on sales incentives once their earnings surpass the $10 million mark. Electronics take the top spot as merchandise awards for employee programs, followed by food, beverages and apparel; firms favor food-and-beverage gifts, electronics and writing instruments for sales-channel merchandise awards, while food and beverage, electronics and apparel are the merchandise awards most often given for sales programs.