Immediate Gratification Rewards New Consumer Trend

by: Nichole Gunn November 8, 2010

Businesses are run by people. This simple statement warrants that business managers and leaders need to keep their finger on the pulse of the most recent motivational and behavioral inclinations.

According to a recent survey by SYNERGISTICS Research, a marketing research firm, titled “The Future of Reward Programs”, reward programs were put to the test. The study performed a national Internet survey of 1,000 householders, eighteen and older. The respondents in part “were asked to indicate their overall preferred type of reward” in regard to financial services such as credit cards and checking accounts.

The results indicated that immediate gratification rewards, those that offer lower value with ‘quick receipt,’ such as rebates, discounts, and gift cards, are the rewards of choice at 44 percent.

Results from an earlier study conducted in 2006 reflected only 26% preferred this type of reward. Along with this, in the 2006 study 33% of consumers said they would prefer to accumulate points over time for a reward, compared to 16% in the recent survey.

These changes are significant. Consumers prefer immediate rewards, even if it means they will be of lower value, rather than waiting longer to receive higher-end rewards such as expensive TVs or vacations.

“Clearly, consumers’ perceptions of reward programs are evolving in reaction to the current economic environment.  Consumers are much more oriented toward immediate rewards and have adopted a ‘show me the money’ attitude,” explained Genie M. Driskill, COO of SYNERGISTICS.

The new consumer trend dictates that incentive programs need to be adaptable to consumers, and in regard to businesses, to their employees. It is no longer a one size fits all scenario; the rewards must be diverse. “The “perfect” reward, one that generates the most motivated response, will vary from participant-to-participant based on their personal likes/preferences as well as changes in their immediate circumstances.”