The Best Corporate Gifts? Pens, Food — Oh, and Power Banks

The annual corporate gift-giving report issued by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is out and it indicates that companies thanking clients planned to give gifts averaging $48, up 9 percent from 2014.

The most popular presents? Food and beverages top of the list of treats for customers and prospects, followed by useful office items like pens and calendars. And also something new: power banks (versatile and mobile recharging stations for smartphones and tablets).

ASI’s 7th annual Corporate Gift Spending Report also showed that 25 percent of all companies surveyed wanted to gift employees to the tune of about $100 per staffer (versus 18 percent in 2014).

Oft-chosen employee gifts include gift cards and cash bonuses, followed by food, beverages, and apparel.

“What struck me the most about the 2015 results is that companies are spending more overall on employee gifts than on client gifts, most likely in an effort to retain top talent in a robust job market when employees have more choices,” said Nate Kucsma, ASI’s marketing research director.

The primary goal of giving gifts to customers and prospects is to express appreciation, followed by relationship building, the report found.

“When questioned about the best corporate gift they ever received, respondents cited standards like fruit baskets, popcorn, tins and engraved pens as well as such items as a branded umbrella, laptop sleeve, reciprocating saw, steaks, movie passes, bourbon truffles, a spa day, weekend in New York City, iPads and activity trackers. “A briefcase with the logo and my name embroidered on it – I still treasure it,” one respondent told ASI,” noted the research summary.