Lifestyle and habits of BPO employees influence consumer consumption

The unique lifestyle and habits of Philippine business process outsourcing (BPO) employees are influencing retail and consumer consumption, according to the latest report by global information and insights company, Nielsen. 

Nielsen’s report, which provides a 360 view of BPO employees, reveals that as BPO employees alter their lifestyle to fit the demands of their job, they also change their purchase and consumption habits. 

“Being well paid than most Filipinos, BPO employees are formidable members of the growing middle class population of the country. The spending habits of BPO employees reflect an affluence that is more than the general population, spurring consumer spending,” said Stuart Jamieson, Nielsen Philippines managing director. 
The face-to-face interviews reveal that BPO workers prefer food and beverages that are quick and easy to prepare. With a typical work schedule starting at 10 p.m. and ending at 6 a.m., BPO employees who participated in the study consumed more processed and pre-packed food during breakfast and breaks while for dinner, their diet included other alternatives such as pre-packed food, or dining out.   
In terms of food products, the respondents showed high consumption of breakfast cereals, hard candies, gum, biscuits and chocolates. In some in-depth interviews which were used to complement the survey data, respondents say that they prefer instant breakfast cereals because it can be eaten quickly at home or out of home. 
While consuming candies and gum help them to be alert and awake during night shifts, BPO employees rely on biscuits to keep them full in between main meals.   
The report also disclosed that BPO employees drink beverages such as iced tea, energy drinks, ready-to-drink juices and milk more frequently that the total market.
It was learned in the interviews with BPO employees that consuming these drinks are their little daily indulgence as these satisfy one or more of their consumer needs.
High consumption of alcoholic beverages is also observed among BPO employees, with 76 per cent of BPO respondents admitting that they consumed alcoholic drinks in 2012 compared to 40 per cent of the general population who said they drank alcoholic drinks.
According to BPO employees who participated in the in-depth interviews, alcohol serves as a facilitator in establishing teamwork. They claimed that for spontaneous or after-shift drinking, they buy alcoholic drinks from convenience stores and places which are open 24 hours.
For a planned drinking session, they go to grills and watering holes.  These planned drinking sessions happen usually on paydays when they have money to burn. BPO employees said that they also drink during their day-offs in their homes or neighborhoods.
When it comes to technology adoption, BPO consumers are more likely to own gadgets more than the general market—indicative of the improving socio-economic class of BPO employees.  

Compared to the general population, more BPO employees own postpaid subscriptions, with significantly higher monthly spending than the total market. The in-depth interviews say that mobile phones are essential in their lives because it enables them to manage their busy work schedules and at the same time cope with maintaining their relationships with family and friends. They also use their mobile phones as a tool for entertainment to break the monotony of work days.  

“By being constantly on their mobile phones and staying online through their high connectivity and multiple connection points, BPO consumers are more accessible via the Internet.  BPO consumers live multi-screen lives. They watch TV while they have a tablet or mobile phone on hand. This gives advertisers and marketers huge opportunities to drive innovation and interest to various categories such as consumer goods, pharmaceutical products, telecommunications, and financial services,” recommends Jamieson.  

To tap the BPO consumers, Jamieson also advised companies to form retailer collaborations around the BPO offices, specifically convenience stores, fast food coffee shops that are frequented by call center employees.