female working on laptop at home office

If you’ve ever doubted the shift to a telecommuting economy, consider this: more than 2.5 million Canadians work from home—that’s more than 10% of the working-age population. Marissa Mayer would be horrified.

Read: How Mobile Workers will Change Your Business

This type of worker represents a growth market, and not just for those hawking yoga pants and Internet connections. According to exclusive analysis by Environics Analytics (based in part on data from the Print Measurement Bureau), those who eschew office life spend some big money on some unexpected things. Here are some highlights:

  • They’re more affluent than you think. Their average household income is $110,590—22% above the Canadian average.
  • They spend 37% more than average on mortgage payments, probably on a home that’s less than 10 years old. But before you feel too bad for them, note that they spend 42% more on the vacation properties they own, 30% more on travel packages and 41% more on art.
  • You’ll find the highest concentration of them in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Quebec, not so much—the percentage of work-at-homers in that province is 29% below the national average.
  • You’ll find them in Toronto, but also in such mid-sized Ontario municipalities as Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Peterborough, Oshawa and Guelph—each of which has at least 20% more home officers than the norm. Another work-at-home hub? Yellowknife, N.W.T., with rates 32% above average. (We wouldn’t want to leave the house in -40°C with no sunlight, either.)
  • Don’t assume you can reach them in an official language. The mother tongue of more than 25% of home officers is neither English nor French. (Compared with the general population, people who work from home are 133% more likely to speak Urdu; 88%, Punjabi; and 74%, Russian.)
  • They’re OK with outsourcing. Yes, home officers are more likely than most to spend on courier services, telecommunications infrastructure and office equipment. However, they’re also 37% more likely than the Average Joe to shell out for professional or management consulting services, and 25% more likely to spend on advertising and PR.
  • All that solo time makes these workers extra-keen to exercise their minds. (They’re 23% more likely than average to attend a ballet performance and 20% more likely to buy opera tickets or to attend an art gallery.) And their bodies. (They’re 22% more likely than average to have a gym membership.)
  • They spend 22% more than a typical Canadian on cappuccino. (Maybe it’s an excuse to get out of the house?)
  • This is an educated audience that’s far more likely to get its information by reading than by sitting in front of the TV. People who work from home are far more likely than most to read a daily newspaper such as The Toronto Star, The National Post and The Globe & Mail.
  • As a whole, home officers skew a bit crunchy. They’re 15% more likely than the general population to buy organic products.

Read: 4 Tips for a Better Telecommuting Policy

Do you work from home (or allow your employees to do so)? What products and/or services would make your life easier? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

Loading comments, please wait.