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Bucking the recessionary trend, Asperity Employee Benefits forecast its busiest fourth quarter ever for launches of its Reward Gateway employee discounts schemes.

With an eye on enabling employees to make substantial savings on shopping in the run up to Christmas, many employers view October and November as a critical period to get a scheme launched or revamp an existing discounts offer.

About 60% of scheme implementations were entirely new to the organisation and about 40% involved a change of provider.

In either case, George Farrow, Service Delivery Director at Asperity said: “Employers clearly understand the value of a discounts scheme giving staff the opportunity to save substantial amounts at a time of year when household finances come under real pressure. Employees don’t take long to catch on either. Our behavioural tracking indicates that £500 per employee is easily achievable in the first year of adoption and that is equivalent to a boost in salary of around 5% for an employee on national minimum wage or 2% on national average wage. With many employers forced to reduce or defer pay increases, this is a timely boost to employee spending power.”

Analysis of previous years showed that the key offers for the Christmas season are likely to be electrical goods, entertainment and games including Wii, Xbox and Playstation, and mobile phones. Supermarket savings and home and car insurance cashback remain staples throughout the year.

Farrow said that Asperity had doubled its capacity over the summer and it was satisfying to see so many vibrant schemes being launched to employees. “2010 looks equally good. We have a goal over the next eighteen months to continue to deliver value with amazing content and a rich interactive experience that already includes deal alerts on Twitter and googlemapping of deal locations near employees’ homes and places of work. Without doubt, the return on investment on a well-used discounts scheme makes sense to HR, Finance and employees.”