Fuel Costs Drive At-Work Consumers to Consolidate Shopping Trips

September 9, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Automotive | CPG & FMCG | Retail & E-Commerce | Travel & Hospitality

In today’s economy, with gas prices at or near $4 a gallon, a study from BIGresearch suggests that consumers are calculating how to save both time and money by consolidating shopping trips and work commutes – somewhat like a “pit strategy” in motorsports (via Retailer Daily).

In one year’s time, gas prices have more than doubled, resulting in a 20% increase in the number of consumers opting to “drive less.”

Moreover, nearly three-fourths of working Americans say they are consolidating their shopping trips and making purchases on the home-work-home commute route, where they spend an average of 48 minutes per day.

“It used to be that an afternoon of shopping was considered a leisurely pursuit. Now, with soaring fuel costs, it’s all about getting in and out with as few unscheduled stops as possible,” said Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media.

“Retailers would do well to recognize the value of reaching consumers at their workplace, where they usually plan their pit strategy.”

Study findings about the worker-commute pit strategy:


  • Not surprisingly, commute pit stops involve refueling – their cars and themselves:
    • 74% of at-work consumers report regularly or occasionally dining out during the workday.
    • 72% report purchasing food, beverages or other grocery items.
  • Also, 53% of at-work consumers report spending their lunch break shopping for beauty-are products and cosmetics, 61% say apparel, 48% cite shoes, and 24% say they shop for jewelry and watches.
  • More than half of all at-work consumers, 56%, regularly purchase medicines, vitamins and supplements on the commute route.
  • Nearly half (49%) report using the commute route for the mundane chores of picking up dry-cleaning and purchasing new eyewear.
  • 35% of workers use the commute route to have their car serviced with new tires, oil changes, etc.

“Drastic changes in shopping behavior call for drastic changes in marketing methods. As a result, aggressive retailers are leveraging the commute route for retail activation and influencing purchasing decisions,” said Molnar.

About the study: The At-Work Consumer Media & Shopping Behavior survey was conducted by BIGresearch in December 2007 from a national sample of 3,989 US employees across a variety of industries. Other statistics cited were taken from BIGresearch’s Consumer Intentions & Actions Trends Database.

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