Praise Them Like You Should

13 February 2017

  • People in the UK value praise more than receiving gifts(1)
  • People are finding their families more rewarding than 12 months ago
  • 39% of parents who reward their children have increased rewards in past 12-months

Family and friends are where it’s at when it comes to feeling rewarded, according to new research from Sainsbury’s Bank. The Bank’s research that looked in to the psychology of rewards found that more than half of over 4,000 people who took part in research cited these groups when it came to feeling rewarded, valued or appreciated.

The bank which provides one of the most rewarding credit cards on the market(2) wanted to explore the real value of rewards. Nearly seven in ten said it was important to feel rewarded, valued or appreciated by their friends (69%); nearly two-thirds by partners (65%), and half by their children (50%).

And when it comes to these relationships, it is praise that the nation thrives on, much more than gifts.


When it comes to rewarding children, praise is far and away UK parents’ favourite form of reward (23%).

Other popular types of rewards for parents to bestow(3) were hugs and cuddles for younger children 0-3 (21%); 4-6 (17%), and money for some of the older age groups; 11-13 (18%); 14-15 (20%); 16-17 (27%). In fact, among the parents with 16-17 year-olds, money actually beats praise – the only age group where praise didn’t come top.

Parents use a variety of rewards, as follows:

Type of reward % of parents implementing
Praise 23%
Hugs/cuddles 14%
Sweets/treats 13%
A present 13%
Money 13%
A day out 9%
N/A – I don’t reward them 7%
A star on a rewards chart 5%
Screen time 3%
Other 1%

While 57% of parents who reward their child say they have not increased the amount of awards they give their children in the past 12 months, 39% say that they have.

Of those who have, 44% say they have given their children more rewards in the last year because they feel guilty they have less time to spend with them, and 47% of these ‘increased rewarders’ say that they are giving more rewards to their children because of their good behaviour or achievements.

People say they are feeling more rewarded in personal/family relationships than they were both 12- months ago and three-years ago, with more than twice as many saying that they’d seen an increase in verbal praise from a partner than those saying they’d seen a decrease; and three times as many from their children – in both 12-months and three-year timespans.

Situation Verbal praise/gifts from my partner Verbal praise/gifts from my children Verbal praise/gifts from other members of my family Affirmation from personal relationships /friends
Increase compared to 1-year ago 19% 18% 17% 19%
Decrease compared to 1-year ago 9% 5% 7% 6%
Increase compared to 3-years ago 18% 17% 17% 17%
Decrease compared to 3-years ago 9% 5% 7% 7%

Dr Jack Lewis, neuroscientist, author and broadcaster says: “
Given our perpetual need for social reinforcement through praise, it makes perfect sense that people across the nation are finding that praise is more valuable than material rewards.

“How connected we feel is fundamentally influenced by the feedback we get from others, particularly the people closest to us. Praise gives our brain a huge boost, making us feel happy, which incentivises us to repeat whatever actions earned that praise.”

Simon Ranson, Head of Banking at Sainsbury’s Bank said: “Getting rewarded when you use your credit card is something we take for granted at Sainsbury’s Bank as we’re committed to rewarding customers for their loyalty. It’s great to see the importance praise and appreciation plays in day to day life and for most people, and that it appears to be on the rise.”

Sainsbury’s Bank’s offers a suite of credit cards including a 42 month Balance Transfer Credit Card and a long Purchase Offer Credit Card with 18 months on BTs and 29 months on purchases(4).


Notes to Editors

  • Sainsbury’s Bank commissioned Opinium Research to survey 4,004 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+ between 8th December and 14th December 2016. Opinium Research is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules). Figures have been scaled up using a nationally representative sample (51,339,000).
  • Sainsbury’s Bank credit card is the most rewarding if used specifically in a Sainsbury’s store and in conjunction with a Nectar card. (Source Andrew Hagger, MoneyComms, February 2017).
  • Age-based rewards breakdown as follows:

Age based rewards

  • New card rates available from 29.12.16

Sainsbury’s Bank Nectar Credit Cards are available to new Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Card customers only. We treat all our customers and their applications for a Sainsbury’s Bank Nectar Credit Card on an individual basis. The interest rate and credit limit we offer are determined by the details you supply, along with an independent verification of credit and repayment history. To keep your promotional rate you must pay at least the minimum payment by the due date and stay within your credit limit. Nectar points collected using your Credit Card are in addition to the points you collect from swiping your Nectar Card or using it online during a transaction.

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Johnston-Watt, Sainsbury’s Bank on 0131 286 0010 / / Citigate Dewe Rogerson 020 7368 9571

About Sainsbury’s Bank

Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Bank provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times. Our products consistently top best buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

Sainsbury’s Bank plc. Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury’s Bank plc is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).