Incentive - November 2009 - (Page 45)

Cameras: All About Social Networking PAGE 46 2009 Gift Card Directory PAGE 50 The latest models have improved tools for sharing photos and videos Corporate buyers have more options than ever to choose from Closed-Loop Gift Cards Facing Issues Research reports say the retail card market is seeing few innovations and holiday business may slip by 5 percent on consumer worries By William Ng he total prepaid card market, both open-loop and closed-loop, continues to grow. But closed-loop gift cards— those issued by retail merchants and usable only in their stores— were not responsible for much of that growth, according to a report by Maynard, MA-based Mercator Advisory Group. Mercator says that perhaps due to its large size, the closed-loop market has “fallen into a rut,” noting it is seeing few investments in innovations that increase the value of closed-loop cards to both consumers and businesses. There were several fast-growing closed-loop market segments, such as digital media (24 percent growth, driven by Apple and other prepaid cards for music), but they were unable to compensate for several large underperforming segments caused by the drop in consumer spending. “While the downturn hasn’t helped, the fact remains the majority of the closed-loop market has T become lackadaisical,” says Tim Sloane, Mercator’s vice president of client services and director of its Prepaid Advisory Service. “Growth will ultimately occur, but given current efforts by merchants, it seems likely that is a ways off.” Mercator values the closed-loop prepaid card market at $187.2 billion per annum and the openloop market at $60.5 billion. Meanwhile, according to Stamford, CT-based Archstone Consulting, this year’s holiday gift card market will either stay flat at $24.9 billion or shrink by up to 5 percent versus last year. Archstone reveals that the average value consumers are loading on gift cards is $46—down $6 versus last year—and they are using the cards for necessities and practical items from big-box retailers, restaurants, and department stores. “Gift cards are still the gift of choice among consumers, but pur- chases reflect economic times,” says Dave Sievers, an Archstone principal and the leader of its consumer products and retail practice. “The focus is on the pragmatic, not frivolous.” Online gift card purchasing and distribution is another trend, says Archstone, with retailers adopting third-party-run Internet platforms from which consumers can order customized gift cards that are delivered via e-mail. Popular iPod nano Gets Video Capability While Retaining Its Price By Donna M. Airoldi Apple has given its iPod nano a video camera for social networking capability. The music player now also features an ultra-thin design with a 2.2-inch color display and an enclosure of polished aluminum and glass. It also has a built-in FM radio and a pedometer. The player provides 24 hours of music or five hours of video on a single charge. The 8-gigabyte model holds 2,000 songs, 7,000 photos, eight hours of video, and seven hours of captured video; the 16-gigabyte one holds 4,000 songs, 14,000 photos, 16 hours of video, and 14 hours of captured video. Models in silver, black, purple, blue, green, orange, and pink can be acquired from Maryland Heights, MO-based manufacturer’s representative Incentive Concepts or from Apple’s corporate gifts and rewards site. | November 2009 | Incentive |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Incentive - November 2009

Incentive - November 2009
Editor’s Note: Incentive Excellence Exchange
Amway’s Over-the-Top 50th Anniversary Incentive Trip
Cover Story: Growing Globally, Software Developer Symantec Seeks Centralized Recognition
Strategies: Motivating the Six Workplace Personality Types
Primer: Five Tools CEOs Can Use To Improve Engagement
Travel News: Where to Go and How to Get There
Switzerland’s Incentive Offerings Are Legendary
Potentials: Here and Now
Digital Cameras for the Social Networking Era
Incentive Gift Card Directory

Incentive - November 2009