SOURCE: WorkPlace Media

WorkPlace Media

September 30, 2009 05:30 ET

Working Consumers' Confidence in Economy Increases, Yet Caution Remains

Nearly Half of America's Workforce Is Eating Home Cooked Meals More Often While Finding Ways to Maintain Convenience

CLEVELAND, OH--(Marketwire - September 30, 2009) - One year after the Lehman Brothers collapse sent the stock market into a tail spin and a subsequent increased climb in the unemployment rate, the American workforce's outlook on the economy is brighter, yet their mindset continues to show caution.

In a review of BIGresearch's CIA-Trends from 2007 to 2009 by WorkPlace Media, a marketing solutions firm that monitors the shopping behavior of the country's workforce, data shows that increased confidence doesn't mean a quick return to a greater focus on wants or to previous rates of discretionary spending on things such as dining out.

Working Consumers                            Sep '07   Sep '08   Sep '09
-----------------

Confident/Very confident in the economy       43.6%     29.4%     33.4%
More practical in purchases                   47.2%     56.9%     56.4%
Focus more on needs vs. wants                 52.8%     62.2%     59.4%
Reduced dining out                            35.9%     53.7%     41.6%

Source: BIGresearch, Consumer Intentions and Actions Trends

As a result of saving money through reduced dining out, the 2009 survey shows that nearly half (46.1%) of workers report eating home cooked meals more often, suggesting that saving money through eating habits remains high.

"As consumers start to migrate toward their own kitchens, restaurant marketers need to find ways to attract new customers, nurture loyalty, and appeal to the economy-conscious mode," said Dan Wheeler, WorkPlace Media's Executive Vice President and Restaurant Category Leader.

Indeed, the very reason that working consumers are drawn to eating out -- convenience, convenience, convenience -- bodes well during cost-cutting times for consumer packaged goods companies who produce on-the-go meal solutions.

"Working consumers, like all consumers, are looking for ways to save money, and some have done this through decreased dining out. Yet, the workforce has the added element of finding meal solutions that not only save money, but also complement their rushed mornings and hectic evenings," said Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media. "Therefore, many are meeting these needs through simple, portable products that are great for meals and snacks which can be eaten on the way to work or while sitting at a desk."

One area of evidence of this is the workforce's outpacing of the general population in the frequency of breakfast bar purchases, as was reported in BIGresearch's August 2009 CIA data.

                               Working        General
Breakfast Bars                Consumers      Population      Index
--------------

Once a week                      7.9%           6.6%          121
2-3 times a month               16.0%          13.5%          118
Once a month                    18.1%          17.5%          103
Every other month               13.1%          12.2%          107
Other                           10.9%          10.5%          103
Never                           34.0%          39.6%           86

Source: BIGresearch, Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, August 2009

"As confidence in the economy slowly returns to pre-recession levels, working consumers continue to rely on convenience as the backbone of their schedules. This would explain the reason we've seen an increase in on-the-go meal solution products by major consumer packaged goods companies. Their products are perfect for this lucrative consumer segment," said Molnar.

For more information and complimentary research, visit www.workplacemedia.com and click on "Complimentary Research."

About WORKPLACE MEDIA:

WorkPlace Media is a national media company that delivers superior ROI for the world's most prestigious brands by helping them reach consumers at work. Additionally, the company conducts ongoing research into the attitudes and purchase behavior of this valuable, largely untapped consumer segment through regular polls and surveys among their network of over 920,000 businesses representing over 64 million working consumers. (www.workplacemedia.com)

About BIGresearch:

BIGresearch is a consumer intelligence firm providing analysis of behavior in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive and media. BIGresearch conducts the monthly Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA) of 8,000+ respondents and the semi-annual Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM) of 15,000+ respondents. More information is available at http://www.bigresearch.com

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