MANILA, Philippines – Over the past few years, convenience store chains such as 7-Eleven, Mini Stop and FamilyMart are spreading throughout the Philippines, as retailers bet on a largely untapped market with increasing disposable incomes.
In terms of convenience stores per capita, the Philippines has a fraction of most other East Asian markets, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Nielsen figures show that as of 2012, the country had one convenience store for roughly every 41,000 people, compared to countries like South Korea with roughly one store for every 2,000 people.
The spike in interest in the Philippines is dramatic. Mini Stop and 7-Eleven were the only two convenience store chains in the country 18 months ago. Now there are seven, and most have aggressive expansion plans that will see the number of stores nationwide double from around 2,000 today to 4,000 within four years.
According to the article, the boom — in retail generally, but in convenience stores in particular — is being driven by the increasing wealth of urban Filipinos, along with changing work practices. The country's thriving outsourcing sector employs one million people, many of whom draw good salaries fielding calls from American and European clients all day and all night. This makes them ideal for the 24-hour convenience-store model.