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Social commerce in Southeast Asia - The Philippines

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

In Southeast Asia (SEA), the Philippines measures up to its geographic peers in population size (108 million) and internet penetration (79%).

The country, however, towers over other countries in the region with time spent online. A recent report stated that people in the Philippines spend more than 10 hours every day online, on average.

But how does the country rank for social commerce in SEA? That is, with all the time they're spending online, are Filipinos more likely to use social media for buying things?

To find out, Econsultancy in association with Magento and Hootsuite recently surveyed hundreds of consumers and marketers throughout Southeast Asia to uncover how people are using social media during the buyer's journey and what regional marketers think about the potential for social commerce in the region.

Below are charts that compare the results from respondents from the Philippines with the SEA regional average, but for more on this topic, please download the full report: The State of Social Commerce in Southeast Asia.

1) Consumers in the Philippines are on social media longer but spend less money than others in SEA

Marketers who target the Philippines are well aware that social media is popular in the country, but just how popular is it?

Very popular. Nearly 2 in 3 (60%) of our consumer survey respondents indicated that they spend 3 hours or more per day on social media, significantly more than in the rest of SEA (45%)

While Filipinos spend a lot of time online, though, they are not yet spending their money there. Seven out of 10 respondents (70%) to our survey said that they spend less than $50 per month online, far more than the SEA average (40%).

2) WhatsApp is not the hit in the Philippines that it is elsewhere

One surprising result from our survey is that people in the Philippines are much less likely to use WhatsApp than others in the region. In SEA, 65% of respondents reported using WhatsApp daily, but only around 18% in the Philippines said the same.

Instagram, too, is used daily by fewer people than the SEA average.

And this fact clearly has an impact on how people in the Philippines search for recommendations and reviews. Only around 30% use Instagram in this way and fewer than 5% use WhatsApp

Marketers who target the Philippines should take note as, according to our data, they will probably not get the results on these platforms they are used to enjoying elsewhere in the region.

3) Marketers in the Philippines are more positive about social commerce than their regional peers

Our regional survey also covered brand marketers - and respondents in the Philippines were more confident about social commerce's potential than others in the region.

First off, they were more likely to 'Strongly Agree' that social media drives online sales (77% vs 60% SEA)

Additionally, a higher percentage of Filipino marketers 'strongly agreed' that social commerce will become increasingly important over the next five years(85% vs. 70% SEA).

The country's positive sentiment toward social commerce also apparently affects their likelihood to invest. Nine in 10 (90%) marketers from the Philippines said that they expect budgets for social commerce to increase in the next 12 months.

So, for those trying to keep up in the Philippines, it may be time to take a close look at what other brands are doing on social media in the country.

4) Why? Because their social commerce strategies are paying off.

The positive feelings about selling on social media are not just wishful thinking on behalf of the marketers. Our survey found that three in four (75%) respondents from the Philippines feel that their company's social commerce strategy is now 'well-developed' and 'driving results in revenue'.

Additionally, marketers in the Philippines are confident that they can link sales to social media. Seven in 10 survey respondents (70%) 'strongly agree' that they can attribute online sales to social media efforts.

Having a solid strategy and a social media attribution model appears to be helping marketers prove their value to management, as well. More than half (58%) 'strongly agree' that they can measure the return on investment (ROI) of all of their social media activities.

While online spending in the Philippines is still lower than the SEA average, social commerce seems to be alive and well in the country.

Those wishing to reach consumers in the country are advised to review their social commerce strategies and attribution models and ensure that they are leveraging the channels which are popular in the country.

With more than 85 million consumers online, the Philippines has a lot to offer brands looking to grow in the SEA region.

For more information on this topic, please download the full report: The State of Social Commerce in Southeast Asia.

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