ICSC Study: U.S. office workers provide daytime selling opportunities

New York City -- A study released Wednesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers found that determining what office workers spend going to work, during the business day, and immediately after work prior to returning home can provide a better understanding of the opportunities that exist for retail, restaurant, and service establishments in proximity to office parks or buildings.

Among the survey highlights:

  • Office workers account for approximately one-fifth of the U.S. workforce and they spend about $195 per week on all expenses associated with commutation and purchases on goods and services made within the vicinity of their office building.
  • In markets deemed to have ample retail offerings total spending was about 2.5 times higher than markets deemed to have limited offerings.
  • The average weekly spending on goods and services is about $102 per week. Of that, the highest is grocery stores at close to $20 per week, followed by discount stores at a little over $10 per week.
  • The largest single cost incurred by office workers is on transportation, which accounts for approximately 18% of total workweek expenditures.
  • Online personal spending accounts for 15% of the typical average weekly expenditures – this fluctuates greatly by market with suburban having by far the highest total share of online spending.

“The study revealed that significant opportunities exist for some types of retailers, restaurateurs and service establishments given low sales penetration rates with office workers,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and VP of research for ICSC.

The study found office worker spending on goods and services and on meals generates $184 billion over the course of the year. Moreover, office worker spending increases by approximately 140% in markets with ample retail offerings over limited ones, suggesting that there is potential for additional offerings in these limited areas.