January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Work Shopper, Not Harder

Half of all online holiday purchases will be made from the workplace, according to an online poll conducted by (www.rewardsplus.com) RewardsPlus, a Web-based benefits firm, through (www.insightexpress.com) InsightExpress, an automated online market research service. The poll of 200 people , a representative sampling of online consumers who have Internet access through their employers and at home, was conducted in December.

Additionally, the survey found that of those online consumers who have never shopped online at work, 40% plan to do so by this holiday season. Further, 20% of those who have never made any purchase online plan to buy online at work this holiday season.

"Companies are now finding that while the Internet can bring efficiencies in their operations and increase productivity among employees, they need to find a way to manage how employees spend their time online," says Ken Barksdale, president of Baltimore-based RewardsPlus.

The survey also indicates that online shopping during work hours is not just a seasonal activity. Some 35% of online consumers say they make most of their online purchases at work during the rest of the year, as well as around the holidays.

The RewardsPlus survey also found that the amount of time an employee spends online while at work has no relation to his or her likelihood of shopping while at work. Of those who planned to shop online at work, 50% were light Internet users, at less than 5 hours a week, 24% were heavy users, at more that 20 hours a week. The remaining responses fell in between 5 and 20 hours a week online. Of those who have already made a purchase at work this holiday season, 46% were light users and 32% were heavy users.

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