NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As Thanksgiving and the holiday season quickly approach, Americans across the country have started to think about what they will do for friends and family this year. Despite challenging economic times, the one gift valued most by consumers costs nothing – expressions of gratitude.
According to a recent Ipsos poll sponsored by Citi’s ThankYou Network, there is a near unanimous agreement – 95 percent of Americans stated they feel “really good when others thank me for something I have done or accomplished.”
Nearly all respondents (19 out of every 20) of the “Rewarding Life” survey stated a belief that “more than anything else, getting a genuine thank you from someone is the best kind of reward that you can get.” In fact, when asked about the most meaningful reward they have ever received, the most common unprompted answer is a “sincere thank you.”
“While many consumers worry about what types of products express their gratitude, many don’t consider what is most meaningful to the recipient,” said Nancy Gordon, executive vice president of Citi’s ThankYou Network. “Many might approach their holiday shopping differently if they realized it is not the newest product or service but a simple ‘thanks’ topping most people’s wish list.”
Identifying The Most Meaningful Rewards
Other meaningful rewards – such as a simple, spoken thank you (65 percent very meaningful) or receiving a hug or a kiss (69 percent) – were ranked as some of the more sincere, heartfelt, and often simple expressions of appreciation providing an emotional benefit.
Still, many (63 percent) often struggle to find ways to express their appreciation to others. Beyond a simple expression of thanks, Americans used material rewards, such as jewelry, gifts, trophies or certificates, or money to serve as meaningful ways to recognize the accomplishments of others.
Family Lies at Cornerstone of Rewarding Life
While being thanked is the most commonly named reward across most demographic groups, some groups were slightly more likely to say that a rewarding life is enhanced by the most personal of relationships – their family. One in five Americans (21 percent) name their family as the single most meaningful reward that they had ever received. Grandparents (30 percent) and parents (26 percent) top the groups that are most likely to feel this way.
Beyond simply making their life more fulfilling, loved ones, including family members and friends, also serve as a primary source of the explicitly expressed appreciation for what they do or accomplish.
Husbands are much more likely than wives to say that their spouse shows them a great deal of appreciation (78 percent vs. 59 percent). Men (62 percent) are also more likely than women (56 percent) to say that their family in general shows them a great deal of appreciation. At the same time, women identified that they are more likely to feel appreciated by their friends.
Getting together with friends and family has become one of the more common ways for Americans to reward themselves. In fact, more than half (56 percent) have celebrated an accomplishment with family and friends in the past year.
Businesses Can Strengthen Connections to Consumers
With so many Americans placing great value on genuine appreciation, businesses can tap into this sentiment to expand the ways they thank customers to enhance relationships. Nine in ten respondents (90 percent) agreed that it is more important than ever for businesses to reward loyal customers.
At the same time, 72 percent of Americans said they are surprised when a company thanks them for their business, indicating that there are opportunities for businesses to engage customers by showing more appreciation.
“Now more than ever, businesses should be expressing their thanks and appreciation to their customers,” said Gordon. “Through the Citi ThankYou Network, we have made showing appreciation and thanking our members a core value.”
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi's major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Nikko, and Banamex. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.
About The Rewarding Life Study
Statistics were generated from the ThankYou Network Rewarding Life Study, commissioned by Citi and conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in August 2008. A randomly selected sample of 1,000 adult Americans were polled to gain a greater understanding of Americans’ attitudes toward and perceptions of a rewarding life and rewards programs. Complete results from the ThankYou Network Rewarding Life Study will be available on or around Dec. 1, 2008.