Microsoft identifies a new ‘Workday Consumer’ persona blending work and shopping

Microsoft identifies a new ‘Workday Consumer’ persona blending work and shopping

Microsoft Advertising has found that working from home has changed the way consumers shop online, blending personal shopping tasks and work during office hours. The company dubs this persona the ‘Workday Consumer’.

This pattern shift carries implications for marketers who may still be working on assumptions that Monday to Friday office hours are devoted to work while evenings and weekends are prime shopping periods, the company also found in a separate survey.

The new persona – temporary or permanent?

The Workday Consumer is an individual who unapologetically switches between employee, personal, and consumer modes throughout the day online. This new persona is here to stay. As many as 44% of respondents to the study of 5,329 employed consumers aged 18 and over expect the number of online purchases they make during worktime to only increase during the next 12 months.

What this could mean for employers and brands marketing to this new behaviour is only just being discovered. The research indicates a permanent behaviour change that most marketers are currently unaware of, or unequipped to handle.

Key findings

Within this new Workday Consumer persona, the research identified that the PC is a key touchpoint.

While 76% of respondents stated that they use a mix of devices when researching and buying products and services online, their overall device preferences for high-consideration, complex purchases suggest the Workday Consumer prefers to use a PC.

Other key findings include:

  • 60% of global consumers now complete a mix of work and personal tasks in their to-do lists during working hours
  • More than half (59%) consider their work and personal tasks of equal importance during the working day
  • 63% of consumers now spend more time on their work PC than they did before the pandemic
  • 44% of respondents expect the number of online purchases they make during worktime to only increase during the next 12 months
  • More than two thirds (67%) of global advertisers rated their own brands as novices or intermediates in building in-depth understandings of different personas
  • Nearly half (42%) of UK consumers spend more than 1 hour on personal tasks during worktime, with the most common task being researching products/services they are considering purchasing (56%). Surprisingly, 11% are spending more than three hours during their workdays researching or purchasing products/services.

Brands risk falling behind

Alongside the consumer survey, Microsoft Advertising conducted an additional survey of marketing and advertising decision-makers that showed brands have yet to target the Workday Consumer and are falling behind, stuck using outdated consumer persona strategies.

Well over half (60%) of brand decision-makers indicated that their companies do not consider ‘working mode’ or ‘mindset’ when developing target personas, suggesting they are yet to tap into the opportunities presented by the new Workday Consumer.

Interestingly, 50% of respondents rated their brand as ‘intermediate’ and a further 7% rated their brand as a ‘novice’ in using the right mix of digital advertising tactics for key audiences, suggesting room for improvement in the application of digital ads.

This additional survey collected the views of 1,301 marketing and advertising decision-makers identifying as directors, vice presidents, or heads of brands.

The full Workday Consumer report can be downloaded here.