by Vincent Alonzo | October 01, 2017
Recently, Successful Meetings sent a survey out to our readership asking them to tell us how they were incorporating merchandise into their events in 2017. Of the respondents 46 percent were corporate planners, 29 percent were association planners and 25 percent were independent or third party planners. Of that pool, 97 percent rated  merchandise a somewhat to very effective tool for achieving certain meeting goals. Here's what else they had to say.


Types of meetings and events using merchandise


Corporate meetings: 33%
Conventions: 23%
Trade shows: 22%
Incentive trips: 22%


Most common goals for integrating merchandise into meetings        

    
Enhance the overall attendee experience: 72%    
Reinforce the host organization/attendee relationship: 47%
Recognize achievement: 40%
Promote the event: 34%
Thank speakers or other attendees: 33%
Generate Sponsorship revenue: 23%


How effective is merchandise at achieving these goals?        


Effective: 43%    
Somewhat effective: 29%    
Very effective: 25%    
Not effective: 3%    


How merchandise spending for meetings and events has changed over the past two years

Spending the SAME: 55%
Spending MORE: 30%
Spending LESS: 15%    


How planners purchase corporate gifts
            
Direct from manufacturer/supplier: 54%    
Promotional products company: 54%
Reseller/distributor: 42%    
Online: 36%    
Gift service company: 19%    
Retail: 19%        


Average total budget per event for lanyards, tote bags, pens, pads, and other promotional items


Less than $500: 9%    
$501 - $1,000: 14%    
$1,001 - $2,500: 18%    
$2,501 - $5,000: 23%    
$5,001 - $7,500: 14%    
$7,501 - $10,000: 6%    
Over $10,000: 13%    
Do not use merchandise for this purpose: 3%    


Average total budget per event for plaques and other recognition awards        
    
Less than $500: 22%    
$501 - $1,000: 20%    
$1,001 - $2,500: 18%    
$2,501 - $5,000: 13%    
$5,001 - $7,500: 5%    
$7,501 - $10,000: 4%    
Over $10,000: 5%    
Do not use merchandise for this purpose: 13%    


Average total budget per event for in-room gifts    

    
Less than $500: 25%    
$501 - $1,000: 14%    
$1,001 - $2,500: 13%    
$2,501 - $5,000: 7%    
$5,001 - $7,500: 7%    
$7,501 - $10,000: 4%    
Over $10,000: 6%    
Do not use merchandise for this purpose: 24%    


Average total budget per event for branded merchandise distributed at merchandise bars        

    
Less than $500: 10%    
$501 - $1,000: 8%    
$1,001 - $2,500: 9%    
$2,501 - $5,000: 12%    
$5,001 - $7,500: 9%    
$7,501 - $10,000: 5%    
Over $10,000: 7%    
Do not use merchandise for this purpose: 40%    


Use of sponsors to defray the costs of offering the merchandise at events

             
(Always; Never; Sometimes; N/A)

Promotional items: 24%; 32%; 32%; 12%    
Plaques & recognition awards: 9%; 53%; 20%; 18%    
In-room gifts: 12%; 33%; 24%; 31%    
Branded merchandise bars: 10%; 27%; 24%; 39%    


Most common categories of merchandise used at meetings and events  


Apparel: 75%    
Tote bags: 67%    
Pens: 62%
Note pads: 56%    
Electronics: 50%    
Desktop/office accessories: 50%    
Lanyards: 49%    
Miscellaneous promotional items: 44%    
Gift cards: 43%
Plaques: 42%
Food: 34%    
Watches & Clocks: 33%
Books, music, movies: 33%    
Writing instruments: 33%
Wine and spirits: 27%
Leather goods: 26%    
Crystal: 23%    
Sporting goods: 20%    
Tabletop items: 20%    
Outdoor/leisure equipment: 17%    
Luggage: 15%
Cameras: 13%    
Tools: 13%
Jewelry: 11%    
Toys/games: 11%    
Cigars and tobacco accessories: 8%    
Cookware: 7%    


Most common types of gift cards offered at meetings and events

    
Dining/restaurant: 40%    
Retail: 35%    
Prepaid/Debit cards: 30%
Entertainment: 15%    
Travel: 13%    
Gas: 7%    
Experiential: 7%    


How popular are branded merchandise bars?


I will not incorporate them in my events: 43%
I have incorporated them in my events: 24%
I might incorporate them into my events: 17%
I plan to incorporate them in my events: 16%


Attitude of organizations toward employees receiving corporate gifts at meetings


Have not encountered any restrictions/prohibitions: 27%
More organizations have restrictions/prohibitions: 26%    
No change in number of organizations with restrictions/prohibitions: 42%    
Fewer organizations have restrictions/prohibitions: 5%