Most Filipinos go online to find ideas for gifts: Facebook study

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By Arjay L. Balinbin

MAJORITY of Filipino adults (85%) rely on their mobile devices to find gift ideas especially for Christmas, according to Facebook 2019 Holiday Study.

Citing the latest study commissioned by Facebook, Facebook Philippines Country Director John Rubio told reporters at a luncheon at the Bonifacio Global City on Thursday last week that a big part of Christmas shopping in the country still happens in-store, but mobile devices “play a key role in discovering and browsing for gift inspiration.”

He noted that 85% of the study’s respondents said they used their mobile phones or computers to find ideas, while 72% went in-store.

“Business is good because these are the trends. It’s all about business advertising. Do I think they should [go into digital marketing]? Yes… and I think businesses need to have a clear digital strategy because I think it’s now the actual channel of business,” he said.

Facebook surveyed 1,501 holiday shoppers in the Philippines aged 18 and above about their Christmas shopping habits and attitudes in partnership with the marketing firm Ipsos in January this year. The study also included analyses of Facebook and Instagram data from Dec. 31, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018, in the Philippines.

The study found that for the majority of respondents, the most common resource for discovery of gift ideas were their Facebook and Instagram feed and Stories.

At least “94% of those surveyed shared that Facebook is influential in their Christmas shopping decisions while 58% credited Instagram in influencing their purchase,” the study said.

Facebook Philippines also noted that 73% of its respondents said that even when inside a store, “they would use their mobile phones — up by 10% since last year.”

“What do they do on their smartphones while shopping in-store? Many of them said they compare prices (69%); compare products (61%); and read product reviews (60%),” it added.

The study also showed that nine out of 10 shoppers in the country are more likely to buy from a business that they can directly message through an instant messaging service.

Mr. Rubio said the figures stress the value of being able to engage customers “on a more personal level.”

According to the study, the top five reasons cited for messaging a business during the holiday season are: to find out more details about a product (66%); to purchase a product (58%); to track an order (58%); to find shipping details (56%); and to find store information (47%).

To prepare for the holidays, Facebook Philippines conducted a free training event for at least 200 Manila-based small-to-medium businesses on Thursday.

Facebook Philippines said the training included courses that would help them build their end-of-year strategy and give them hands-on experience with Stories School — a popular course that helps businesses understand how best to connect with customers through the Stories feature of Facebook and Instagram.

“Millions of businesses across the world use our free and paid tools to run and grow their businesses everyday. We’re proud of the major role we play in helping businesses of all sizes grow and create meaningful impact in their communities,” Mr. Rubio said.