MANILA: An emerging consumer group in the Philippines, employed in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, is attracting the attention of marketers, thanks to their relative wealth and odd working hours.

Stuart Jamieson, Nielsen Philippines managing director, said there were around 1.3m BPO consumers and they were typically male, college graduates aged 24 to 29.

A defining feature of this group was that many of them worked overnight, with between 70% and 80% at their desks from 2200 to 0600.

"They alter their lifestyles, purchasing and consumption habits to fit [their work hours]," Jamieson told the Franchise Asia Philippines conference, reported by Rappler.

One consequence of this was that convenience stores saw them as their biggest market, with 60% of BPO consumers having visited one during the past six months. "Everywhere there's a BPO centre, there's a convenience store," noted Jamieson.

Nor is the growing BPO industry restricted to Manila – six other Philippines cities appear in a global top 100 list compiled by investment advisory firm Tholons – and he expected that as new wealth spread across the country more convenience stores would open.

A recent study found that modern convenience store outlets were growing in popularity across Asia, with 7-Eleven at the forefront of the development. The Philippine Seven Corp, the local franchise owner, plans 200 store openings this year to bring the total to 1,000.

The nature of their work may be a factor in the products that BPO workers buy in such stores. Energy drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, headache tablets, chocolates and hard candy were the most purchased items. Nielsen also found that BPO workers were twice as likely as the average person to drink alcohol.

"Because of their office hours they are more likely to stop at a fast food outlet before and after work," added Jamieson.

Further, Jamieson remarked that as BPO consumers were better educated and better paid than others, they were more likely to read magazines, access the internet and possess various gadgets.

With this group boosting the numbers of an affluent middle class, Nielsen anticipated increased demand for better quality products.

"Retailers need to look at product optimization in outlets to ensure you give your consumers more choice," advised Jamieson.

Data sourced from Rappler; additional content by Warc staff