Nielsen: One in three Filipinos accessing the internet

Social Networking playing an increasing role in consumer purchasing decisions.

MANILA, 12 JULY 2011: One in three consumers in the Philippines are now accessing the Internet, with younger demographics significantly more likely to get online than older generations, according to a report released today by global insights and measurement company, Nielsen.

The report, a pre-release of data from Nielsen’s inaugural Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report* which will be available on 30 September, found that 33 percent of Filipinos access the Internet, five percentage points below the Southeast Asian regional average of 38 percent (see chart 1). Internet penetration amongst consumers aged 15 to 19 was close to two-thirds (65%) and nearly half of those in their 20’s were online (48%), however, there is still much room for growth for those aged 30+ – less than one quarter of consumers aged in their 30s (24%) access the Internet, 13 percent of consumers in their 40s, and just four percent of consumers aged 50+.

South East Asia Internet Penetration

Whilst for the majority of Southeast Asia markets home was the most common location to access the Internet, Internet users in the Philippines varied significantly by age, likely due to varying levels of home PC ownership and access to broadband services (52% of Filipinos have a computer with high speed Internet connection at home). Home is the most common Internet access point for those aged 30 years and above close to nine in ten Internet users aged 50 years and above (86%) cite ‘home’ as they main point of access. In contrast, 74 percent of 15-19 years identify Internet cafés as their main point of Internet access.

With increasing ownership of Internet-capable mobile phones and the growing accessibility of mobile Internet plans, mobile Internet usage in the Philippines is set to increase in the coming year. Already close to one quarter of Filipinos Internet users (24%) access the Internet on a daily basis via a mobile phone and 56% intend to access the Internet via a mobile phone in the next 12 months.

“The sophisticated capabilities, ease of use and overall user experience provided by Smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry is changing the patterns of behaviour of digital consumers,” observes Jay Bautista, Managing Director of Nielsen’s media business in the Philippines. “The anytime, anywhere access to digital media that Smartphones and other Internet devices affords is stimulating online media consumption and will be a significant driving force for increased Internet usage in the future.”

Of those consumers in the Philippines who are accessing the Internet, social media plays a large role in their online activities, and online behaviour in the Philippines has evolved in recent years with the growing popularity of social networking sites. In the Philippines, communicating via social media has now overtaken email to become the most popular form of online communication – over two thirds of Filipino digital consumers (67%) have visited social networking sites, compared to 40 percent who use email.

Social media is also driving Filipino consumers’ interaction with companies and brands – the Philippines ranked second highest for the number of people who have ever ‘liked’ or followed a brand, company or celebrity on a social networking site (75%). Filipinos were highly trusting in consumer generated media such as consumer opinions posted on social media sites and discussion forums – 61 percent of Filipino Internet users said they trusted consumer opinions posted online, higher than any other market in Southeast Asia and seven points above the regional average. Further, online product reviews and discussion forums are one of the most trusted sources of recommendations in purchase decision making, second only to recommendations from family and friends (see chart 2). Close to two thirds of digital Filipinos (64%) use social media as a resource in purchase decision making.

“The rise of social media platforms has facilitated more ways for word of mouth communication to take place and this presents both opportunities and challenges for companies,” notes Bautista. “Filipinos are increasingly looking to their fellow Internet users for opinions and information about products, services and brands, and engagement with online word of mouth communication is going to increase in coming years as social media plays an increasingly important role in consumer decision making.”

Nielsen Study- 1 in 3 Filipinos Accessing the Internet