Your Rewards Program Needs These 5 Reward Categories in 2020 [Infographic]

by: Mark Herbert November 25, 2019

Does your rewards program have what it takes to motivate and inspire your participants in 2020? Every year, we send out our Voice of the Participant Survey to get a feel for what people are look for from their rewards program. This year, we surveyed thousands of participants from hundreds of companies across dozens of verticals. We asked participants what their top interests were so that we could make sure we’re helping our clients offer the right value proposition to grow their business.

Reward Programs 2020 Infographic

For a quick overview of our findings, check out the infographic below! But make sure to keep scrolling for an in-depth breakdown, as well as ideas for your rewards program.

Lifestyle Rewards 2020

Click here for the .pdf!

Top 5 Reward Categories for 2020: Lifestyle Rewards Are King

In the incentive industry, it’s not secret. The most effective rewards are personalized, experiential, and enhance or facilitate participant lifestyle. These factors increase the emotional impact and memorability of the reward experience. In order for a rewards program to be an effective tool to motivate participants and build customer loyalty, it’s important to align rewards with participant interests. This year, when we asked survey participants what their top interests were, it’s clear that lifestyle and experience are still on top.

  1. Travel – 52% of all reward program participants identified travel as one of their top interests. Make sure your rewards program catalog includes the option to redeem points towards airfare, hotel accommodations, tours, and cruises. You might also consider launching an incentive travel program as a tiered reward for top performers to go alongside your points rewards program.  
  2. Sports – 41% of respondents named sports as a top interest. Sporting Goods was one of our top 3 redemption categories by volume in 2018. In addition to providing sporting goods as a reward option, you can also include tickets to sporting events in your reward catalog.
  3. Music – 40% of participants reported that they were passionate about music. Apple AirPods have been an extremely popular reward item over the past two years. But if you’re looking to get even more experiential, try including concert tickets and music festival event passes in your incentive rewards catalog!
  4. Tech – 39% of participants mentioned technology as one of their passions. However, there might be a little bit of under-reporting here. Technology is an integral part of the modern lifestyle, and Electronics is consistently one of our top redeemed categories – both by number of items and dollar value.
  5. Tools – 37% of participants reported that tools and buildings were one of their primary interests. However, it’s worth noting that our reward program audience trends older, with 85.64% of respondents over the age of 35. Also, most of our programs are in the B2B space, and many of our clients’ participants are contractors and installers in the building materials, HVAC, and automotive industries. So tools are a part of the trade.

A Look Ahead: Are Experiential and Lifestyle Rewards on the Rise?

We anticipate that the popularity of experiential and lifestyle rewards will only continue to rise. The Incentive Research Foundation reported that the net increase for the use of experiential rewards had grown to 44% in 2019.

Also, consider this: by 2025, 75% of all channels will be millennial. Millennials place even more emphasis on lifestyle and experience than the generations before them. So the popularity of experiential and lifestyle rewards will become an even more important part of your program's value proposition. As you plan your rewards program for 2020 (and the years beyond), it’s important to take effective incentives for millennials into account.

We’ll be releasing the full results of the 2019 Voice of the Participant Survey in the weeks to come. Don’t miss out!


About Mark Herbert

Mark Herbert is President and CEO of Incentive Solutions. He has more than 30 years of experience overseeing business operations within the incentives industry, helping companies increase channel sales, build customer loyalty, motivate employees, and grow their business.