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Business

Companies urged to shift with consumers as Philippines' digital economy keeps growing

Camille Diola - Philstar.com
Online shopping
Digital is seen to expand to a $20-billion industry by 2025 and brands can only take advantage of opportunities if they learn to keep up with a demanding consumer base with global tastes.
Blake Wisz

MANILA, Philippines  — The average Filipino spent at least four hours on social media daily over the past years, and the demand for content continued to be insatiable as a larger portion of the population started to own mobile devices and gained access to the internet.

Samuel Jeanblanc, market lead for Google Philippines, said the number of YouTube channels with at least 1 million subscribers tripled within five years.

A result of this behavior was a shift in their aspirations from the local and traditional to more global and experiential, having seen the world vicariously through celebrities and influencers.

At GetCraft Manila Marketers Meetup last September 17, Jeanblanc emphasized how such shifts in the market pose new opportunities for brands that will see a likely expansion in the local digital economy to $20 billion by 2025.

Samuel Jeanblanc
Samuel Jeanblanc, market lead for Google Philippines, at the GetCraft Manila Marketers Meetup in September.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas

But even before brands—especially long-established ones—can take advantage of the unprecedented growth, they would meet greater challenges in engaging a digital consumer base.

Francis Chua, group marketing head at logistics group 2GO, observed that companies and marketers are now dealing with consumers who have even shorter attention spans.

The astounding amount of choices they are exposed to also influences how they perceive older and established brands whom they have become less loyal to. Consumers are now demanding more and higher standards from products and services for less, he said.

"The brand that gives them what they want wins," Chua said at the event mounted to guide marketers who are planning campaigns for 2020.

Francis Chua
Brands need to go revisit their vision and focus on the consumer, says Francis Chua, group marketing head at logistics group 2GO, at the GetCraft event.
Philstar.com/Norman Tan

He suggested that brands "go back to basics" and focus on the customer by being relatable and relevant.

While brands need to learn how to bend long-established practices to follow consumers' lifestyles and tastes, it does not mean foregoing what they stand for. Chua, who has worked with 50-year-old companies, said shoring up a brand's architecture and corporate vision while aligning with the market is just as important in a reputation economy.

Miguel Atienza
Miguel Atienza, digital strategy director at Publicis JimenezBasic, at the marketers' meetup.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas

Innovation, moreover, is expected and necessary. Miguel Atienza, digital strategy director at Publicis JimenezBasic, said that consumers have become lazier and tend to use services that made it easier for them to accomplish things.

"Every industry will shift," said Atienza, who observed how businesses that aid commuting, eating, shopping, banking, working and entertainment are succeeding in the market.

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Editor's Note: Philstar.com is a media partner of GetCraft's Manila Marketers Meetup. At no stage does the host organization have a say on the stories generated from the event. Content is produced solely by Philstar.com following editorial guidelines.

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