Filipino consumers and the evolving segment opportunity

Over recent years, Philippines has emerged as the top source of permanent residents to Canada. According to Statistics Canada, over 50,000 Filipinos migrated from the Philippines in 2015. The population continues to grow with now more than 700,000 Canadian residents with Filipino ancestry spread across the country. With this shifting immigration trend, this growing population is becoming a promising segment for brand marketers.

Given the huge multicultural marketing potential, it’s worth looking at how Filipinos fare as consumers. The good news is that Filipinos are loyal consumers. Once they have found a brand they trust, they don’t easily change their minds about it. A 2013 Nielsen study reveals that Filipino consumers have strong brand affinity – with almost 80% of survey respondents saying they would choose to buy new products from brands they’re more familiar with. Moving to a new country, some of the household brands they grew up with may not be available or easy to find; that’s why it’s important for Canadian brands to reach out to these “new consumers” soon as they arrive in Canada and win them over early to ensure long term loyalty.

Based on the same study, 83% of Filipinos still trust word-of-mouth advice from family and friends when it comes to choosing products. Aside from people they know, they are also influenced by a favourite celebrity or known personality in the community. Majority of product endorsements in the Philippines are done through traditional and digital media, by celebrities and bloggers that Filipinos look up to. They view these endorsers not just as trusted sources of information, but also as trusted friends, who share the same experiences or are there to help them overcome their worries and uncertainties.

Convenience is also key to convincing this population to buy a certain product. Many new Filipino immigrants tend to work more than one job to save money to establish their lives in Canada or send to family back home, while gaining the Canadian experience they need. Due to their busy schedules and hardworking nature, cheap and convenient alternatives appeal to them. Ready-to-eat (RTE) foods – canned or small packages – are always available in Filipino homes to prepare for their family at any time or when guests visit on short notice. Filipinos also love snacking in between meals to keep them energized for work, so it’s common to see them reaching out for their favourite snack throughout the day.

Only 1% of Filipinos lack comprehension of either English or French. Even though this market is less language dependent as compared to other ethnic groups, 70% of them say they still want to see more targeted advertising. Filipinos are well-known for being proud of their origin; a trait known as “Pinoy Pride”. Wherever they go, many Filipinos find it easy to adapt to their new environment, yet remain true to the values they grew up with. Advertising can become very effective when a brand can connect to a Filipino emotionally, by reminding them of home and their cultural values.

Family also plays a big role. When making choices regarding their choices as consumers. Filipinos do not just think of themselves but also of their families. They want their family members involved in the decisions they make most of the time, and they want them to also benefit and enjoy from the things they invest in.

Filipinos consume media through multiple screens

8 in 10 Filipinos consume media through multiple screens

What are the most effective mediums to use to reach this market? According to Environics Analytics, Filipinos are average consumers of traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers) and respond better to advertising compared to general population. For example, they are 34% more likely to watch infomercials. When it comes to social media, Philippines is dubbed as the “Social Media Capital of the World” for good reason. Compared to a global average of 4.4 hours of online usage a day, Filipinos spend 6.3 hours per day on the Internet via computer or laptop and 3.3 hours per day via mobile device.

8 in 10 Filipinos consume media through multiple screens. That’s why it comes as no surprise that using their social media voice, Filipinos were able to generate almost 40 million tweets in a 24-hour period to support their favourite on-screen couple in 2015. This outranked the number of tweets generated during the Superbowl and set a world record for most number of tweets in a day. When McDonald’s Philippines signed the same on-screen couple, the company also experienced phenomenal success by using social media for advertising and brand endorsement. The brand grew 470% in sales (based on same store sales and transactions) after the ad went viral.

Filipinos coming together to support something they believe in is powerful indeed. When marketing to this group, remember that to gain their trust and loyalty, they should see you as family or a trusted friend. Connect with them not just intellectually but also emotionally. Make them laugh, tug their heartstrings, remind them of home, make them feel something, and you will gain your brand’s most avid supporters.

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Photo Credit: Top Photo by © Andres Rodriguez / Dreamstime