ATLANTA, July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- While the economy continues to make strides, many consumers have yet to feel the positive impacts in their wallets. According to a recent USA TODAY article, about one in five U.S. households owes more on credit cards, medical bills, student loans and other unsecured debt than they have in savings, checking accounts and other liquid assets. However, in a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Purchasing Power in January among 2,099 U.S. adults age 18+, of whom 700 were employed full time and/or their spouses are employed full-time, 37 percent of those who are employed full-time and/or whose spouse is employed full time said they would be "at least somewhat likely" to use employee purchase programs for major purchases, if given the opportunity, according to research published in "By The Numbers: Which Employees Use Purchase Programs and Why" the second white paper released in the "The Power Behind the Purchase" series today by Purchasing Power, LLC. The company is an e-commerce business that offers customers of its employee purchase program the opportunity to procure big-ticket items using a convenient payroll deduction, as an alternative to credit cards. A copy of the study is available at http://www.purchasingpower.com/employers/d/WhitePaper_WhichEmployeesUsePurchasePrograms.pdf
The downturn in the economy has stimulated increased employee interest in employer benefits overall. According to the 2012 MetLife 10th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends, nearly half of all employees (49 percent) say that because of the economy they are counting on their employer's benefits program to help with their financial needs.
"Voluntary benefits are one way employers can help ease fiscal stress and help employees get back on a firmer financial footing," said Richard Carrano, President and CEO, Purchasing Power. "The Purchasing Power employee purchase program has proven to be a viable, cost-effective alternative to other consumer purchase plans, such as employer discounts, layaway, rent-to-own and even credit cards, as savvy shoppers make more informed decisions about their household purchases."
This discussion was explored in the first white paper in "The Power of Employee Purchase Programs: The Next Generation of Voluntary Benefits" released in April 2012, and now research published in this second white paper reveals which workers use employee purchase programs and why. This new white paper also examines employees' current purchasing tendencies, as well as the life events and trends that impact usage of purchase programs.
In January 2012, Purchasing Power conducted the industry's first survey to gain a better understanding of which workers are using employee purchase programs, when, and what products they have a tendency to buy. Although employee purchase programs are designed to meet the needs of a diverse workforce, it is important to understand the make-up of the power user to truly determine if this benefit will be valued―and used―within an organization. Taking into account the research outlined in this paper along with projected economic, lifestyle and employment trends, one can conclude the following as the demographic snapshot of "who" that employee might be: 35-44 years old, married female, earning a mid-income, and with at least one child in the household.
In 2011, according to a survey of Purchasing Power customers, offering workers access to an employee purchase program with year-round access improves engagement with the program. Approximately 32 percent of employee used the program at least once during the course of two years, and another 65 percent used them two or more times in the same timeframe.
While an employee purchase program is a year-round benefit, Purchasing Power's customer data indicates that there are very distinct buying seasons for particular products by users of employee purchase programs. Outside of the holiday-buying season that typically occurs in November, fitness and recreation products are popular during January (as people make their new year resolutions); outdoor equipment and home furniture purchases usually hit highs during April (in anticipation of summer); and purchases for computers and electronics peak during August (as children head back to school).
Employee purchase programs have evolved into more robust, hassle-free employee benefits - and ones that appeal to very distinct groups within the workforce. By 2050, the American workforce will be heavily populated with three generations: Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Z, the multi-tasking iGeneration. In preparation, forward-thinking employers are shedding the traditional concept that one benefits package fits all and, instead, are offering plans that are more meaningful to an individual based on where he or she is in life. The findings of the Purchasing Power surveys support the notion that employee purchase programs certainly fit into that strategy.
Purchasing Power Survey Methodology
Purchasing Power collected 2091 responses via an online survey of customers who placed orders from November 2011 through January 2012. The statistics have a margin of error + or – 3% at a 99% confidence level and + or – 2% at a 94% confidence level.
About Purchasing Power, LLC
Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Purchasing Power, LLC was founded in 2001 and offers customers an alternative to purchase a variety of name brand products and pay for them over 12 months through payroll deduction. Purchasing Power differentiates itself from traditional e-commerce retailers through its unique payment plan value proposition, strategic benefit broker partnerships, internal marketing expertise and superior customer service. Purchasing Power is a Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC Company. The company has serviced more than 725,000 orders for employees of companies and organizations including Fortune 500 and government agencies. For more information, visit www.PurchasingPower.com.
Harris Interactive Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Purchasing Power, LLC, from January 25-27, 2012 among 2,099 adults age 18+ of whom 700 are employed full time and/or their spouses are employed full-time. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact email@example.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
SOURCE Purchasing Power