Allure Of Physical Shopping Remains Despite Growing Online Shopping


The Office. It used to be a place we just went to work. You arrive in the morning, go home at night. Nine to five.

Not any more. These days the office is a place we meet colleagues and friends, we socialise and connect with the world around us … and we shop.

Cafes, kiosks and convenience shops have become a familiar feature of city office foyers. Food courts, shopping arcades and laneway shops can be found in most areas of our central business districts.

What has driven this change? Why so many shops in areas that used to be lifeless corners of the old ‘concrete jungle’?
The office worker – that’s what changed. Highly productive, always on-the-go lifestyles lead to more money but less time to spend it. Increased interest in good food, but no time to cook at home – the eating out culture has become the norm, both at home and work. The brown bag lunch seems a relic of the past.

Urbis wanted to find out more about the shopping habits of the Australian office worker. In combination with a number of large property owners we surveyed some 3,700 office workers about their shopping habits during the working week.

We found some amazing facts:

  • In a typical week virtually all city workers buy something before, during or after work. Only 3% reported buying nothing.
  • The average spend is a massive $230 per week. This is spent in shops and excludes transport to and from work, trips to the doctor and other similar non-retail spending.
  • $76 per week is spent on food and beverage. Lunch is the most popular purchase (84% buy lunch during the week).
  • City workers consume 2 million coffees a week. Nearly three-quarters of office workers consume the black beverage at a typical rate of 3.5 hits per week.
  • One-third of workers buy clothing or footwear in a week. Women are the big spenders.
  • ATMs are the most desired facility close to work. Food courts, a place to get a good coffee, a supermarket and a café were in workers’ top five ‘must haves’ near their office.

This article first appeared in the Urbis Think Tank. Urbis is an interdisciplinary consulting firm offering services in planning, design, property, social planning, economics and research. Working with clients on integrated or standalone assignments, Urbis provides the social research, analysis and advice upon which major social, commercial and environmental decisions are made. With over 300 staff Urbis is uniquely positioned to handle projects from the simplest to the most complex.


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