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Americans in the workforce have a significant impact on their coworkers’ consumer shopping behaviors – 96% say they regularly or occasionally give shopping advice to their peers, according to (pdf) a recent WorkPlace Media survey conducted by BIGResearch.

Moreover, nearly 93% indicate that they seek similar advice from their coworkers before making purchases.

Rising food and gas prices and busy schedules – in combination with a higher-than-ever-before percentage of time spent at work (60% of waking hours) – are driving consumers to consolidate shopping trips and make purchases on their drives to and from work, or during their lunch breaks, the study found.

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Among products and services purchased most during the workday, food and drinks are cited most often. Almost 75% of at-work consumers indicate they regularly or occasionally dine out or purchase groceries and beverages during working hours.

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Other findings from the survey:

  • At-work consumers research products online before purchasing, with almost half (47.2%) saying they researched electronics online in the last 90 days during the workday before making a purchase in a store.
  • While taking a break from work, 67.8% of at-work consumers say they socialize with coworkers.
  • 42.2% also indicate they communicate with friends and family during the workday.
  • In workday shopping destinations, Wal-Mart leads the grocery category, with 14.5% of at-work consumers reporting that they shop there most often for groceries. Kroger and Publix round out the top-three grocery destinations with 8.4% and 8.2%, respectively.
  • At-work consumers get their fast-food “fix” at McDonald’s (23.3%), Wendy’s (16.2%) and Taco Bell (8%).
  • Applebee’s, Chili’s and Olive Garden are the top casual-dining destinations among working consumers.

“The American workplace is replacing the American neighborhood as the most lucrative marketing channel for advertisers looking to connect with consumers where they eat, shop and socialize,” said Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media.

About the research: The At-Work Consumer Media & Shopping Behavior survey examines the shopping behavior of consumers during the workday, including the role of online search as a catalyst to retail purchase, grocery shopping, casual and fast food dining preferences, new-media consumption during the workday, word-of-mouth dynamics and its role in influencing purchase decisions in the workplace. The survey was conducted by BIGResearch in December 2007 from a national sample of 3,989 US employees across a variety of industries.

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