United Stationers: Your share of the Empowered User

Individuals purchasing for their departments and themselves, termed "Empowered Users" by United Stationers and described in the "Emergence of the Empowered User" whitepaper in July 2011, continues to impact workplace spend.


An August 2012 group of consumer studies conducted by United with 12,000 working consumers, indicates that individuals within companies who purchase products for their individual use and/or their departments grew to 77% of purchasers, up from 61% in 18 months.

Empowered user spend for the individual is about 22% of total spend, or 1/3 of the empowered spend across all business sizes. Empowered spend for the department accounts for the remaining 2/3 of empowered spend.

Much to the chagrin of supplies managers, individuals who purchase may not use negotiated company sources. In addition to broader access to products as resellers bring their offerings online, a key driver of the empowerment is remote work. About 20% of the workforce works remotely at least one day a week, and purchases by even occasionally remote are largely un-managed. This is according to workers, managers and purchasing management. Individual purchases are reflected in expense reimbursement requests, as well as bills to company departments.

Click on the link below to download the full version of the Empowered User whitepaper