People Who Work From Home are Adopting New Shopping and Spending Habits
People are ready to reimagine the way they work—and remote jobs are changing consumer behavior. Recent consumer research explains who is likely to work from home, and how remote jobs impact people’s shopping and spending habits.
Who is Most Likely to Work from Home?
Consumer research by the US Census Bureau found most people who work from home have a higher level of education and income, and a recent report from Telstra Ventures found senior level employees and people working in the fields of law, product design, or sales are more likely to work remotely.
The firm analyzed jobs available in technology hubs across the U.S. and found businesses based in Columbus, Ohio; San Diego, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Francisco and Chicago offer the most remote positions. The study also revealed people are less likely to work from home if they work in a health-related profession, or for a business located in Houston, Charlotte, Raleigh, Pittsburgh or Orlando.
A Hybrid Work Model is Taking Shape
How Does Working from Home Affect Spending Habits?
Remote jobs are impacting business and consumer spending behavior, and the number of remote jobs is expected to grow as companies continue to invest in digital transformation. Businesses anticipate a reduction in physical work space, and online meeting capabilities are expected to continue to reduce business travel, dining and entertainment expenditures.
According to a report by McKinsey, consumer spending is expected to fluctuate through 2024, even though consumer confidence is rising and savings spiked nearly 20 percent during 2020. Many consumers feel uncertain about future employment and income levels, and people who work from home simply have different wants and needs.
Lower Income Households
earning under $40,000 per year are expected to reduce spending through 2024 by up to 4.2%
Middle Income Households
earning from $40,000 to $100,000 per year are expected to slightly reduce spending through 2024 by about .1%
Higher Income Households
earning over $100,000 per year are expected to increase spending through 2024 by up to 3.2%
How is Working from Home Changing Consumer Behavior?
People who work remotely often focus on work earlier in the day and later in the evening, and tend to fluidly transition between personal tasks and work activities throughout the day. Convenience is driving four new consumer behaviors among the remote workforce according to recent market research by several organizations, and the National Retail Federation.
Virtual Health Care:
Online doctor visits and telemedicine usage is 38 times higher in 2021 than 2019
- 40% of visits are online for psychologists
- 23% of visits are by phone or online for retail health clinics or pharmacies
- 23% of visits are by phone or online for pediatricians
- 91% of online shoppers expect to receive purchases within one week
- 80% of online shoppers expect free shipping when they spend a specific dollar amount
- 66% of online shoppers want free shipping for all purchases
How Does Working from Home Affect Shopping Behavior?
The remote workforce has different wants and needs, and is spurring growth in four key areas:
Home Delivery Services:
Convenience, efficiency and instant gratification are spurring a ‘delivery economy’ for consumer goods and services that is expected to surge through 2030 according to McKinsey.
Electronics & Tech Support:
Mice, keyboards, video conferencing tools, laptop and desktop computers are essential for remote work, and demand is growing for smart homes and at-home technical support according to ChannelSight.
Demand is growing for food and drinks people normally buy away from home during the work day, like coffee, ready-made meals and grab-and-go snacks and ready-to-drink beverages and alcohol according to a report by The New Consumer.
How to Learn When, How, and Why Consumers Shop
At a time when consumer behavior is changing, qualitative consumer research provides strategic insights about new consumer needs and habits. Businesses gain a competitive edge by understanding when, how and why people shop within a particular brand category.
Individual or group discussions are designed to gain consumer insights for:
- New product usage/tasting
- Concept exploration
- Advertising and copy evaluation
- New packaging exploration
- Marketing communication evaluation
Shop-alongs are designed to:
- Understand category shopping behavior
- Gain package design feedback about shelf pop, readability and competitor/category analysis
- Understand shelf placement and point of sale opportunities
- Determine merchandising vehicle impacts
Ethnographic approaches such as in-home videos, lifestyle immersion and friendship networks are designed to:
- Understand target consumer needs, wants and desires
- Uncover consumer attitudes and usage behavior
- Test products and packaging (short and long-term use)
- Test ad campaigns and develop effective messages
- Support new product development
- Support website development
Online and mobile research approaches like group discussions, bulletin boards, panels and digital diaries support:
- Concept evaluation and development
- Product testing (short and long-term use)
- Purchase considerations
- Ad campaign development and message testing
- Website development and usability testing
- Attitudes, usage and behavior tracking
- Traditional qualitative lead-in or follow-up surveys
Consumer forum research provides fast and continuous consumer opinions from specialized groups like:
- General population forums screened based on usage behavior
- Trend setter forums with early adopters
- Brand-lover forums with consumers who already use products and services
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