2010 Is The Worst Year Ever For Corporate Holiday Parties

holiday party

Photo: By dpstyles™ on flickr

We may be in a recovery, but you wouldn’t know it from checking out this year’s corporate holiday parties… or the lackthereof.This year only 79% of businesses will have holiday parties– the lowest recorded number in the past 22 years, according to Amrop Battalia Winston. Strangely, 2008 and 2009, at the supposed worst of the recession, recorded 81% of companies having holiday parties

Click here to see 5 the best years >
The most cited reason for the cutbacks aren’t budget-related, rather they are based on economic outlooks. A majority (55%) of respondents who weren’t have a party thought it was the right decision given the current economy. Conversely, most of those who are having holiday parties said they are celebrating a good 2010.

Though companies have cut back on holiday parties, 61% of those who are having them are spending about the same amount as they did last year. Eleven per cent intend to hold more lavish parties than last year (up one per cent from 2009) and 28% say their parties will be more modest.

Other interesting findings? People want to get out of the office: 77%– compared to 67% last year– are hosting parties off-site. Companies are offering up more booze: 79%– compared to 73% last year– are serving alochol.

But despite the more austere holiday season, companies are displaying a renewed sense of hope for 2011. 50-five per cent say “they are on track to grow and hire next year,” and 32% say their company’s performance will stay the same.

Amrop Battalia Winston’s Annual Survey on Corporate Holiday Celebrations telephone surveys a cross-section of 103 of America’s leading businesses. Their data dates back to 1989.

1996

Percentage of companies holding holiday parties: 97%

Percentage of companies serving alcohol: No results

Party spending/lavishness: 65% planned on maintaining the same level of expense as last year, 6% planned more modest events, 29% planned more lavish events. 84% of companies paid for the entire celebration.

A 1996 New York Times article describes a 28-year-old Wall Street broker walking around the city with a bottle of $190 Cristal and wearing an Armani suit. He and his colleagues attended the company holiday party that served shrimp, salmon and sushi, offered Davidoff cigars and played piano music. The cost of the party was $180 per head.

1997

Percentage of companies holding holiday parties: 97%

Percentage of companies serving alcohol: 78%

Party spending/lavishness: 62% planned on maintaining the same level of expense as last year, 10% planned more modest events, 23% planned more lavish events. 70% of companies paid for the entire celebration.

A Bloomberg holiday party, described in a 1997 NY Daily News article, included eight buffets, three bands and free alcohol. The party was held at the Museum of Natural History with 3,500 guests in attendance. Bloomberg founder Mike Bloomberg said: 'The company's job is to get the best people and to get them to know each other, and say thank you for all their hard work.' The article describes other parties that spent $3,500 on a cake, $30,000 on flowers and $25,000 on candles.

2003

Percentage of companies holding holiday parties: 95%

Percentage of companies serving alcohol: 83%

Party spending/lavishness: 90% of companies paid for the entire celebration.

The Dot Com crash was over, as the Dow rallied from 8000 to 10000 in a year.

2004

Percentage of companies holding holiday parties: 95%

Percentage of companies serving alcohol: No results

Party spending/lavishness: No results

In 2004, companies were paying from $50 to $500, with an average of $125 per person at their company holiday parties, according to this New York Daily News article. Parties included carving station, bands and car services... but slight cutbacks meant no more sushi.

2006

Percentage of companies holding holiday parties: 95%

Percentage of companies serving alcohol: 86%

Party spending/lavishness: 66% planned on maintaining the same level of expense as last year, 6% planned more modest events, 28% planned more lavish events.

High salaries and increased Wall Street bonuses led to larger holiday parties in 2006. Said Manhattan caterer Serena Bass: 'We're having a really ridiculously fabulous season.'

The parties suck, but at least some banks have cool Christmas decorations...

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.