MNTN Research Peeks

Research Digest

Audience Deep Dive: The WFH Consumer

Abstract

  • As of spring 2022, nearly 60% of Americans said that they have the option to work from home.
  • Remote workers are active TV watchers—86% said that they watch TV monthly.
  • Consumers who work from home remember advertisements—48% reported seeing ads on TV and 39% said they recall seeing ads on video streaming services.
  • They have disposable income—40% of WFH consumers reported a “high” annual salary.

Remote workers have unique consumer behaviors and interests—many of which are TV-centric.

From before the COVID-19 pandemic to now, the number of people working remotely (full time or otherwise) has skyrocketed. Due to the global circumstances starting in spring of 2020, many businesses were forced to go fully remote. And, despite the world “re-opening”, the remote work trend isn’t slowing down. In actuality, it’s growing.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, in 2019 less than 6%¹ of people in the U.S. worked primarily from home. Comparatively, as of spring 2022, nearly 60%² of Americans said that they have the option to work from home (WFH) for all or part of the week.

The number of people working from home has significantly increased in the last 2.5 years, and will likely continue to as time goes on. So, who are these remote workers and what makes them tick? Advertisers take note—this customer segment has unique behaviors and interests.

Remote Workers are Active and Engaged TV Watchers

This customer segment prefers to consume content on TV as opposed to other forms of media (radio, movies/cinema, magazines and newspapers). When asked “what kind of media have you used in the past 4 weeks?”, 86%³ of remote workers said that they had watched TV at least once in the last month.

Not only are remote workers watching TV, they are genuinely into it. When questioned about their interests, these consumers said that movies, TV shows and music are at the top of their list—outranking food and dining, travel, health and fitness and others.

Additionally, more than half of this group reported using a smart TV to access the internet—second only to smartphones. Meaning, many remote workers are consuming content specifically on Connected TV (CTV). This is a key learning for advertisers, especially when paired with the knowledge that these consumers remember the advertisements that they see on streaming services (more on this below).

Consumers Who Work From Home Remember Advertisements

We now know that remote workers are watching TV in high numbers and have a real interest in what they are consuming. On top of this, many people who work from home actually recall the advertisements they see. When asked, “where have you come across non-digital advertisements in the past 4 weeks?” Forty-eight percent of this group remember seeing ads on TV (the highest of all non-digital platforms).

In regards to digital advertising, 39% of respondents in this group say that they remember seeing ads specifically on video streaming services—tied with search engines and just behind social media (46%).

Other Remote Worker Characteristics to Note

The previous stats make for a strong argument as to why advertisers should be targeting remote workers on TV screens, particularly on streaming services. Here are some other facts about this consumer group that advertisers should consider:

  • More than half of WFH consumers are Gen Zs and Millennials | Fifty-five percent of remote workers identified as being between 18 and 38 years old. While the term “Millennial” encompasses consumers aged 27-42, it’s important to note that a large portion of this generation works from home.
  • Remote workers have disposable income | Forty percent of WFH consumers reported a “high” annual salary, with 33% saying they fall in the “middle” third of monthly household gross incomes.
  • Most live in cities and urban areas | Twenty-eight percent of remote workers reside in large cities and 25% live in “medium-sized” towns. Conversely, only 14% of respondents said that they reside in rural communities.
  • Many are college graduates | According to a Pew Research Center study⁴, 65% of WFH consumers have a bachelor’s degree.

Conclusion

Remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. If anything, it will continue to grow and with it, the number of people working from home. This group is unique in that it is made up of consumers who watch TV frequently and have genuine interest in the content they’re viewing. Remote workers also remember the advertisements they see. When considered together, these factors show that WFH consumers are a prime group for advertisers who want to target an engaged and educated audience with a relatively high income level. With more than half of this consumer group using a smart TV to access the internet, brands should consider leveraging CTV advertising as a performance channel to best reach this audience.

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