More – and larger – holiday bonuses expected this year

November 20, 2012 8:22am

•  More small businesses finding the money to reward their workers

•  Bonuses average 9 percent

More than a third (35 percent) of small business owners will be giving their staff end-of-year bonuses this holiday season than last year, when just 29 percent had the wherewithal to offer bonuses, according to an annual survey paid for by American Express.

Of the firms putting something in their holiday cards this year, more than one-in-four say they will be giving larger bonuses compared to last year.

For more than half, the primary reason they will be giving bonuses this holiday season is to acknowledge good work. On average employees can expect to receive a 9 percent bonus this year.

The survey also finds that 40 percent of small business owners will be throwing a holiday party up from 35 percent last year. On average they will spend $959 on their celebration, down slightly from $1,029 a year ago.

More than half of small business owners (57 percent) will be donating to charity this holiday season; one-third will be donating money, one-quarter will be making an in-kind donation and slightly fewer (23 percent) will donate their time.

Despite the current economic climate, 51 percent of small business owners will be giving their clients/customers gifts this holiday season, up from 43 percent last year, the American Express survey says. The average budget for client/customer holiday gifts is $958, up from $827 last year and $740 in 2010.

More than half (56 percent) of small business owners say “Santa Claus” most closely describes their gift-giving behavior; while 33 percent say “Scrooge” is a more apt description.

Survey Methodology

The American Express Open Small Business Holiday Monitor released annually was conducted on the telephone among a random sample of small business owners/ managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees. In total, 503 interviews were completed by Echo Research between Oct. 11-25, 2012. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

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