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Employees Would Like to Purchase Non-Traditional, Voluntary Employee Benefits at Work

Woman Staring at computer

Many full time working adults whose company provides them with employee benefits say they would be at least somewhat likely to purchase computers (45%) and home appliances (37%) through payroll deduction at work if the option were available. The recent nationwide survey of 868 working U.S. adults employed full-time by companies who provide employee benefits was conducted online by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Purchasing Power1. According to the survey, more than three-fourths of full time employees whose company provides them with employee benefits (76 percent) said they would purchase a desktop, laptop, high definition television or home appliance (washer, dryer or refrigerator), power tools and/or a lawnmower in the next 12 months if credit or financing were not an issue.

However, in today’s economic climate, many people are holding off making purchases. Some employers offer payroll deduction plans to aid employees in acquiring these types of items. The survey asked full time employees whose company provides them with employee benefits how likely they would be to purchase items like computers and household appliances if they could do so through payroll deduction. Specifically, 45 percent say they would be “at least somewhat likely” to purchase a desktop or laptop; 38 percent indicate they would be at least somewhat likely buy a high definition television; and 37 percent report they would be at least somewhat likely to buy a home appliance (washer, dryer, refrigerator) if they were able to do so through their employer. In fact, nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of full time employees whose company provides them with employee benefits said they would be “likely or very likely” to purchase a laptop or desktop computer through payroll deduction if it were an option. For high definition televisions, 19 percent of these adults said they would be likely or very likely to purchase through payroll deduction if possible, while 17 percent said they were likely or very likely to buy home appliances.

“Providing non-traditional voluntary benefits as part of the benefit package is a logical service employers can offer their employees, especially in today’s economic climate, to help them acquire life-enhancing products should they choose to do so,” said Richard Carrano, Purchasing Power President and Chief Financial Officer. “Although it’s a benefit fully paid for by the employee, offering this type of employee benefit helps employers show they care about their employees and want to help. Adding a benefit like this also helps raise employee morale in today’s economic environment,” he added.

Purchasing Power, a voluntary benefit provider of employee purchase programs, helps working Americans to purchase life-enhancing items such as computers, electronics, appliances, through a disciplined, payroll deduction option. With its short pay back period, only 12 months, and with payments automatically taken from the paycheck, employees who struggle to acquire consumer goods in today’s economy due to higher interest rates on credit cards or tightened access to credit have another choice. “Purchasing Power gives employers another great way to improve their employees’ lives during our country’s unprecedented economic downturn,” Carrano continued. “We are especially cognizant of those employees who do not have the means to pay in full upfront or have the ability to qualify for traditional financing during these lean credit times.”

According to a November report by the Federal Reserve, nearly 60 percent of banks severely tightened their lending standards on credit card loans and 65 percent on other consumer loans in the last three months. 

Survey Methodology Harris Interactive® fielded the study on behalf of Purchasing Power from January 28 through January 20, 2009, via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,219 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older, of which 982 were employed full-time, with 868 of those at a company that provides employee benefits. Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

About Harris Interactive 

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit 1- Survey, Harris Interactive and Purchasing Power, January 28-30, 2009.