ASI Says Corporate Gift Giving Trending More Nice Than Naughty

Companies budgeting the same on holiday gifts to employees and clients,
but spending more per gift

TREVOSE, PA – November 13, 2014 – The annual corporate gift-giving survey released today by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) shows companies planning holiday rewards will spend $10 more per customer and $5 more per worker, despite static overall budgets.


Companies giving gifts told ASI they plan to spend an average of $43 per customer or prospective customer on popular promotional products like food baskets or wine bottles branded with a company’s logo, which hit the top of the 2014 gift list, followed by desk accessories like imprinted power banks (35%), writing instruments (31%) and calendars (28%).

According to ASI’s 6th annual Corporate Gift Spending Survey, businesses giving gifts to employees will spend an average of $50 per worker. Most companies are handing out gift cards, followed by food/beverages, apparel and cash bonuses. This year, charitable donations and travel ranked at the bottom of the employee gift list.

“Everyone appreciates being remembered and recognized, which is why smart companies choose to recognize faithful customers during the holidays with a special gift that says ‘Thanks for your business,’ ” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “Whether it’s a calendar for a client’s showroom, a high-tech accessory for their office or a gift card for loyal employees, thoughtful gifts deliver a terrific ROI.”

All told, about six in 10 (62%) companies plan on rewarding clients and employees this year. Results also show that this year, many companies appear to be delaying exact spending decisions until much closer to the holidays.

The main goal of giving gifts to customers is to express appreciation (86%) and for relationship development (69%), as well as to generate good will and increase company awareness, the survey found.

“People tell me they literally can’t wait to get their holiday bag each year,” said Trish Corvelli of Corvelli Realty in Virginia, who spends about $3,000 each holiday to thank clients and potential clients. Corvelli sends each one a logoed gift bag packed with a variety of useful household items and a calendar. “I look for things people need, so they don’t forget me.”

“Everyone appreciates being remembered and recognized, which is why smart companies choose to recognize faithful customers during the holidays with a special gift that says ‘Thanks for your business,’ ” said ASI CEO Timothy M. Andrews

Gift givers told ASI they considered an item’s attractiveness, durability and usefulness when selecting what to give. Items that are eco-friendly or made in the U.S. were the least important factors this year.

According to ASI’s Advantages magazine annual “Gift Guide,” companies should pay strict attention to packaging. While gifts like Swiss chocolate towers will disappear fast, food and drinks presented in an attractive basket, bowl or wine carrier will remind recipients of the giver all year long. And don’t forget branding. This year, 68% of corporate gifts will sport a company logo.

Advantages also suggests companies be unique, whether in thoughtfulness, coolness or functionality. One client raved about receiving a custom pink superhero cape imprinted with her company logo as a thank you, which made her feel like Wonder Woman. Another company gave employees a custom skateboard designed by the agency’s own creative team to symbolize their company’s “ride into the future.”

ASI conducted a nationwide survey of respondents from a cross-section of industries who were screened to have a personal role in decisions about procuring corporate gifts for either employees or clients/prospects.

For more information about ASI’s survey, contact Nate Kucsma, ASI’s market research director, at [email protected].

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the promotional products industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. ASI leads the industry in technology solutions, providing cloud-based e-commerce, enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and customer relationship management software (CRM). ESP Web® is the industry’s leading tool for sourcing hundreds of thousands of products. A family-owned business since 1962, ASI also provides online research, marketing, advertising opportunities, trade shows, education, award-winning magazines, newsletters, custom websites and catalogs to help members sell, market and promote their brands. Visit ASI at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.