Post-pandemic working world and the rise of the ‘Workday Consumer’

By our News Team | 2022

Marketers stuck in their pre-pandemic strategies risk missing a shift in behaviour taking place at the intersection of work and life.

The world has seen a fundamental and permanent shift in how people spend time during the workday, as we have switched seamlessly between professional and personal activities, impacting consumer behaviours during work time.

Those marketers stuck in their pre-pandemic strategies risk missing this shift in behaviour taking place at the intersection of work and life, and could see their competition get ahead of them.

Consumer Trends

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

This is according to John Cosley, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing at Microsoft Advertising, in a recent sponsored article in the industry publication, Ad Age.

“Cast your mind back to your pre-pandemic workday,” he says. “Like most consumers, you would probably split your time, your tasks and your mindset between one of two camps – your ‘work life’ and your ‘home life’.” 

“The last decade or so may have seen more flexibility creep into the workplace. But up until early 2020, marketers could still rely on a clear divide between work and play for most consumers. Working and shopping were mostly mutually exclusive.”

The lines blurred during the pandemic

Cosley adds: “Then the pandemic hit and the lines blurred irrevocably, giving rise to an entirely new consumer behaviour. This is one of the conclusions of new research by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Microsoft Advertising, which heralds the rise of the ‘Workday Consumer’.”

The Workday Consumer has logged in

By surveying more than 5,300 employed consumers around the world, Forrester revealed that 59% consider their work and personal tasks to be of equal importance during their work time. Almost two-thirds (62%) regularly research or purchase products and services during the workday, while 44% of those questioned expect to increase this behaviour in the next 12 months.

Categories that appear to be top of mind during work time are usually high-consideration purchases such as luxury goods, appliances and electronics. These are also items that are frequently on top of the gifting list.

Cosley believes that marketers who understand the Workday Consumer’s mindset and behaviour can score significant competitive advantages by meeting these new consumers where they are. 

“But this won’t happen by accident; it will take a fundamental re-evaluation of your strategy, including your platforms and personas and how you are dividing your budgets across each,” he emphasises.

“Marketers can’t rely solely on the demographic targeting of yesteryear; they must incorporate the consumer’s mindset into their advertising strategy, and this is where a performance-marketing audience network may offer a solution,” Cosley states.

“Digital marketing must operate at the intersection of work and life, including important advertising moments such as world-renowned tournaments [like the FIFA World Cup] and holiday shopping. More than half (51%) of the research respondents indicate that their online purchases made during work time have increased since the start of the pandemic. Your customers have moved on. Have you?”

Read the full Ad Age article here.