1 in 3 consumers in PH access the Internet

One in 3 consumers–or 33 percent–have been accessing the Internet in the country, a report by the global insights and measurement company Nielsen revealed Tuesday.

This is 5 percentage points below the regional average for Southeast Asia (38%).

The report, a pre-release of data from the company’s Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report, also noted that for the Philippines, younger people are more likely to go online rather than older ones.

Among consumers in the country in the 15-19 age bracket, about two-thirds (65%) use the Internet. Of those in their 20s, close to half of them (48%) go online.

Of those in their 30s, only 24% access the Internet; those in their 40s, 13%; while only 4% of consumers in their 50s go online.

Where they go online

The report also said that in most of Southeast Asia, consumers accessed the Internet from home more.

In the Philippines, however, 74% of the users in the 15-19 age bracket go online at Internet cafes.

For users aged 30 and above, they access the Internet from home more, with 86% of users in their 50s going online at home.

Fifty-two percent of Filipinos have high-speed Internet connection in their computers at home, said the report, which will be available on September 30.

Going mobile

Some 24% of Filipino Internet users are said to go online daily using their mobile phone, and 56% intend to do so 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 behavior of digital consumers,” observed 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.”

Social media and buying habits

Social media is huge among Filipino online users, the report noted.

“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% who use email,” Nielsen said in a statement.

Social media is also drawing Filipino consumers to interact with companies and brands.

Nielsen said the country emerged the 2nd highest (75% of Filipino users do) in the number of people who “liked” or followed a brand, company, or celebrity on social networking sites.

Most of them also trust consumer opinions posted online (61% of users, which is 7 points above the regional average).

In making purchasing decisions, Filipino consumers also trust online product reviews and discussion forums, next to recommendations made by family and friends. About two-thirds (64%) of Filipinos accessing the Internet turn to social media before making decisions to buy a product or service.

“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,” noted 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.”

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