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Filipinos invest in 'happiness' to overcome pandemic blues — reports

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
Filipinos invest in 'happiness' to overcome pandemic blues â reports
Citing the lastest Asia: Markets to Watch report, WGSN said that big e-commerce platforms and the emergence of food delivery apps were the biggest contributors to the country’s growing online market. It also added that the Philippines’ Internet economy was the fastest-growing market in Asia Pacific in 2022.  
WGSN/Released

MANILA, Philippines — Are you one of the many joy seekers in the Philippines?

Over the last two years, the catch phrase “Deserve ko ‘to!” (I deserve this!) has been widely used by Filipinos to justify online splurges. Some think it’s instant gratification. Others think it’s a coping mechanism. But it is amply clear that COVID-19 triggered an increasing number of  Filipinos to spend more on themselves, promoting happiness amid the pandemic blues.

A report recently found that many Filipinos have become "joy seekers" turning to food delivery and buying self-care services and items during the pandemic.
 
"Joy seeker" is a subjective term but for market watchers and global trend forecasting company WGSN, the term describes consumers who turn to products and experiences that offer a sense of reassurance.

Citing the lastest Asia: Markets to Watch report, WGSN said that big e-commerce platforms and the emergence of food delivery apps were the biggest contributors to the country’s growing online market. It also added that the Philippines’ Internet economy was the fastest-growing market in Asia Pacific in 2022.  

Lending face to these figures are stories of some Filipinos who noticed how their purchasing habits changed amid the pandemic. Many of them noticed increased online purchases which were mostly food and materials related to old and newly discovered hobbies.

Banker Ron Magno was fond of exploring new dishes and restaurants to try with his family and friends before the pandemic hit. It all changed when quarantines and lockdowns were implemented.

"I then developed a habit of buying food online from online shops on Instagram, the closest experience that I could get to my pre-pandemic dining habits,” he shared.

He also got inspired by the growing number of online food businesses so he bought baking equipment and tools. With eased up restrictions, Magno said that he found himself dining out again but ordering online has become a "norm" for him.

Market analyst and art enthusiast Mary Joyce Fernandez, meanwhile, turned to painting to manage pandemic stress. She purchased paint kits, started scratch painting, and even tried building miniature houses.

"Rewarding myself with these activities after a long day keeps me more optimistic these days,” Fernandez shared.

Just like Magno who has found joy again by dining out, concert goer Maria Patricia Sacay is ecstatic with the prospect of seeing her favorite acts perform live.  

“When I saw the upcoming concert of my favorite artist, I immediately felt the energy that a concert crowd brings. Despite the possibility of the concert being canceled due to the rising number of positive cases, I still ended up buying the tickets because I wanted to feel the happiness of attending concerts again after being cooped up at home for so long,” she said.

These stories are affirmed by a recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Related: Philippine F&B sector may expand 6% this year

The report stated that the Philippine food and beverage (F&B) retail sector is expected to grow by six percent this year as quarantine protocols are loosened and the economy boosted by the recent national elections.

“Filipinos have been showing more interest to spend on products and experiences that bring them happiness and comfort,” shared Athena Chen, senior strategist of WGSN in the Asia Pacific region. “As they continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health, these online purchases naturally become a form of self-care, which promotes a better well-being.”

RELATED: Pandemic anxiety could be permanent: Psychologist gives tips for prevention

MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM

WGSN

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