Industries Commercial Real Estate

Officer worker spending spells opportunity for nearby retail, restaurants and services

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Office workers comprise one-fifth of the nation’s work force, and they spend money on the way to work, during the business day, and after work before returning home.  All those lunches, gas fill ups and other errands add up.

According to a survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers, office workers spend about $195 per week on all expenses associated with commuting and the purchases of goods and services near the vicinity of their office building.The average weekly spending on goods and services, alone, is about $102 per week.  Of that, the largest amount is at grocery stores at close to $20 per week, followed by discount stores at a little more than $10 per week.

The largest single cost is transportation, which accounts for about 18 percent of total work week expenditures. Online personal spending accounts for another 15 percent of typical average weekly expenditures, with suburban office workers having the highest total share of online spending.

Over the course of a year, the study found that office-worker spending on goods, services and meals generates $184 billion. That spending increases by about 140 percent in markets with ample retail offerings compared to markets with limited retail, suggesting a potential for additional spending in the limited areas. “The office work force is an opportunity market that could provide a significant payoff for retailers, restaurateurs and managers of service establishments that increase their offerings to this segment of the population,” Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and vice president of research for ICSC, said in a statement.

The distribution of office-worker spending between types of geography showed noticeable differences. The highest spending is by suburban workers, who spent $227 per work week on average.  Urban workers spent $166 per work week, while small-town or rural workers spent the least at $143 per week. 


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