Study: At-Work Web Audiences Buy More

The concept that the online, at-work audience represents an attractive demographic gains still more backing, as new findings from Avenue A support what’s become a major selling point for the beleaguered Web ad industry.

The Seattle-based Web media buying agency said a recent survey of more than 3,000 Web users suggests that consumers who browse the Internet while at work spend more than when reached at home. About 60 percent of at-work Web users have spent $100 or more online during the last three months, versus 39 percent of home-only Internet users.

As compared to home-only Web users, at-work Internet users are also 64 percent more likely to conduct e-commerce transactions, and 54 percent more likely to browse goods and services online.

Twenty-three percent of Internet users make 10 percent or more of their overall discretionary expenditures online, while 16 percent of home-only users do the same.

At least part of this could be due to the fact that at-work Web users also tend to be more voracious consumers of online media than home-only Internet subscribers, browsing the Web about 48 minutes, or 22 percent longer than users while at home.

At-work Internet users also tended to skew toward having a higher income, with average annual household income exceeding $75,000.

The fact that some consumers browse the Web at home and while at work also means, in many cases, that the Internet beats television as their primary medium during the workweek.

On average, while respondents spent 2.6 hours per day on average watching TV at home, Internet users were online for 2.5 hours while at work, and for an additional 1.9 hours while at home. All told, Internet use by consumers who are online at work and home outstrips TV viewing by about 46 percent.

The findings support a number of earlier studies supporting the use of Web media as a means to reach consumers in the workplace, where their advertising exposure is limited.

In January, the Online Publishers Association, an industry trade group, endorsed a study that found that the Web is the most-used medium among consumers that have Internet access at home and at work. The study also concluded that the segment of consumers logging on at home and at work had demographics highly desirable to advertisers.

In following months, Forbes.com and eMarketer, and The Washington Post Co.’s online unit, in connection with NetRatings and MORI Research, each unveiled further research highlighting the attractive demographics of the at-work audience.

Such arguments are intended to encourage advertisers to throw more money online. Building on those pitches, CBS MarketWatch.com , NYTimes.com, USAToday.com, CNET Networks , and weather.com announced that they would jointly sell networked, day-part advertising inventory as a way to reach consumers while at work.

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