New Global Consumer Group: Work From Home Customers and Their Trends

Published June 03, 2021·Written by Andrea Evangelista

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In the aftermath of our pandemic quake, fault lines have formed around several new global consumer groups. We share one of them – the “Work From Home” customers – and their top trends and implications for managers. 


In December of 1811, around 2:15 A.M., the earth violently shook through a town called New Madrid, Missouri. Later, the disaster became known as the New Madrid Fault Line, one of the world’s most earthquake-sensitive regions.  

Fast forward centuries later, our recent COVID-19 pandemic is a similar natural disaster, also leaving permanent fractures on the economy, specifically in the global consumer market. We can refer to these ‘fault lines’ as new major customer segments. 

In other words, the rude awakening of the pandemic has led to the development of new customer groups worldwide. Among them is the “Work From Home” (WFH) customer segment. 

This article explains the top trends of the remote-working cohort, including implications for brands to consider to target them better. Plus, all are mostly built on 2021 research by a leading consumer insights firm.  

Post-Pandemic Quake: 2021 Global Consumer Insights Research Study by PwC

Sometimes major fault lines in the earth’s crust can stretch hundreds of miles long. Also, they’re shockingly visible from outer space. However, other cracks in the ground can be as thin and near-invisible as your one hair strand. 

New changes in consumer behaviors resulting from COVID-19 can be seen as new “fractures” in the global marketplace. In particular, four noticeable formations have been identified in the March 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey by leading consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). 

Among the four, the work-from-home (WFH) remote employees are the top emerging segment; thus, we chose to share their insights. 

The second top group is “the young generations (vs. the older ones).” The third new segment is “the more health-and-safety conscious (vs. less conscious)” group, and the fourth most prevalent segment was found to be the “Asia-Pacific region” consumers (vs. those living in other regions).  

Trends & Implications: Work From Home Customers (vs. Those Mainly Working Away from Home) 

In combating the pandemic, most countries had imposed a strict stay-at-home policy, which led work-from-home employees to adopt a more digital-friendly lifestyle than those having to work away from home (WAFH) mainly.  

Many WFH shoppers then have grown used to the remote work environment, thus seeing it as their “new norm.” Even more, 76% of workers would be more inclined to stay with their current company if they could work flexible hours. 

The PwC report then digs deeper to uncover interesting consumer insights related to several behavioral trends linked to WFH shoppers (vs. those WAFH).  

1. More likely to buy online groceries 

Not only are WFH customers actively shopping in e-commerce and across all product categories, but they’re willing to spend more on products that were once traditionally popular in stores yet now more in-demand online. 

According to Bain & Company, 75% of online grocery customers still buy from their first-time e-commerce provider. Therefore, online food retail brands are succeeding at retaining their customers throughout the pandemic, but more so, they will likely continue to keep them for the future. How? Grocers are meeting most customers’ needs, such as delivering on hot expectations for convenience and speed. 

Implication: Grocery brands should consider leveraging the customers’ growing demands for healthier groceries, local produce, and sustainable packaging. Many are increasingly wanting to pay a premium price for these hot food-related trends. 

Companies can consider using biometric insights, as just an example, to help personalize their products according to the customers’ nutritional demands. Essentially, promoting health and transparency across the food value chain.  

PwC 2021

Source: PwC 

2. Spending more time on personal at-home activities 

Perhaps, even after the last client call of a typical workday, or when 6 P.M. rolls around – many remote employees are likely to call it a day. The convenience of shutting your work laptop right from bed rather than from the office results in more leisure time at home.

With the extra personal time for WFH customers, there’s a higher surge of exposure to the internet. Thus, stimulating the daily urge to order takeaway yet again, spend impulsively on Amazon, consume in Reddit’s forum during work hours. 

Among the everyday household activities (chatting online, eating, watching entertainment, working out), the PwC research shows that WFH consumers spend more time engaging in these non-work-related activities than when they weren’t remote working and more than the WAFM group. 

Implication: Companies often dealing directly with customers, mainly face-to-face, should consider leveraging this trend where remote employees have a relatively high amount of leisure time at home. So, brands can slightly shift their marketing focus to feature more ads on popular social media channels, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc. 

3. More likely to prioritize sustainable purchases 

More couch time, thus more time for self-reflection or personal online research, thus more highly educated customers, thus more demand for sustainability. 

As covered in our post on sustainability in e-commerce, over half of the global consumers are demanding free shipping and faster delivery, plus nearly 72% are vocalizing about sustainable packaging for their orders. It also makes sense since customers working at home are more likely to spend more time doing their own research, thus discovering and prioritizing sustainability. 

Implications: What brands can do, primarily e-commerce, is to reshift their targeting efforts or indicate that more investments may be needed to build a more socially responsible brand.  Businesses should make objectives around ESG (environment, social, corporate governance) and prioritize their fulfillment process to be more sustainable. Consider zero-waste packaging, minimal packaging, and package marketing and redesign. 

Wonderflow can Detect Emerging New ‘Fault Lines’ in the Consumer Market

When we think of someone primarily working from home these days, what else can we think of?

Perhaps, how remote-working shoppers are more inclined than ever before to leave online customer reviews because most likely they may have more time and motivation. Particularly, if the Indian takeaway tasted awful. 

With millions of product reviews already being written every day, there is likely another million more in customers planning to leave another product rating. It’s an endless race against data.  

Wonderflow, the simplest AI-based solution to analyze them and turn this extremely vast stream of customer feedback into profitable business decisions. 

Here are just some of the many specific capabilities that our natural-language-processing predictive and prescriptive model can detect:

  • Why a specific grocery product had only 2.5 stars when you had thought customers were enjoying its “healthy” nutritional value and what actions to take to improve the ratings 
  • How many times your brand is positively mentioned on Instagram when it comes to analyzing the effectiveness of your sustainable initiative 
  • The flaws of your latest packaging design to satisfy your eco-conscious consumers by scanning thousands of Amazon customer reviews for your team and even pinpointing the exact source of the negative remarks

Get a free demo soon before another disaster hits.   

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