Pinoys rank high in social media usage – survey

Published by rudy Date posted on May 19, 2011
MANILA, Philippines –  The largest ever international research into people’s online activities and behavior showed Filipinos as one of the frontrunners in social media despite lower online usage and engagement compared to global levels.
Covering 46 countries and 90 percent of the world’s online population, the Digital Life 2011 survey was conducted by TNS, the world’s biggest custom research company.
Meanwhile, in a parallel study called Mobile Life 2011, it was shown that the Philippine mobile phone market differs from its global counterparts. Approximately 30 percent of Metro Manila respondents consider content and applications (11 percent) as an important motivator for future mobile phone purchase. This ranks fourth after network provider (15 percent), handset brand (14 percent) and handset model (13 percent), with the top three considerations deemed most important by more than half of those interviewed.
Leading mobile application activities in the country include music (79 percent), games (55 percent), videos and pictures (54 percent), and social networking (53 percent).
The Digital Life study showed that globally, people who have online access have digital sources as their number one media channel. Around 61 percent of online users use the Internet daily against 54 percent for television, 36 percent for radio, and 32 percent for newspapers.
In the Philippines, however, digital is the third most frequently-used medium with 11 million Filipinos aged 16 to 60 from Class ABCD homes accessing the Internet daily, following the more traditional media of TV and radio, at 81 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
Online consumers in rapid growth markets have overtaken mature markets in terms of engaging with digital activities. This is despite mature markets usually having a more advanced Internet infrastructure.
The Internet has also become the default option for photo sharing among online users in rapid growth markets, particularly in Asia. In the Philippines, online users are spending an average of nine hours a week connected, mostly for email (29 percent of online users check email daily), social networking (28 percent) and multimedia (20 percent). Young Filipinos, particularly those between 16-24 years old are in the front line of social networking.
The TNS study also showed that growth in social networking has been fuelled by the transition from PC to mobile. Mobile users spend on average 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites compared to just 2.2 hours on email. The drive to mobile is driven by the increased need for instant gratification and the ability of social networking sites (SNS) to offer multiple messaging formats, including the instant message or update function.
When looking at how the digital landscape will change in the future, research shows that consumers expect their use of social networking on mobiles to increase more than use through PC. The phenomena of social networks going mobile is also taking place in the Philippines, with Facebook ranking as the third top mobile content or service provider in 2010.
The study found that online consumers are, on average, spending more time on SNS such as Facebook and LinkedIn than on email, despite the former only becoming mainstream in many markets over the last few years.
When it comes to who has more friends, online consumers in Malaysia top the list with an average of 233 friends in their social network, closely followed by Brazilians with 231. The least social are the Japanese with just 29 friends. Chinese consumers only have an average of 68 friends in their networks despite being heavy users of social networking sites, indicating a culture that embraces fewer but closer friendships.
Filipino digital consumers have a relatively large number of social network and brand friends. Filipinos have an average of 171 friends, higher than the global average of 120. Brand friends (engaging with brands and their activities on social media) are also slightly higher at the average of five, compared to the global average of four. The survey highlighted that similar to their global counterparts, Filipinos’ desire for information and special offers are key drivers for engaging with brand fan pages.
“Social media can be used as platforms for executional expressions of the communications idea that connect, engage and actively encourage consumers to join in, share, comment and co-create,” TNS Philippines managing director Gary de Ocampo explained.
He added that 83 percent of Filipinos online were found to be “Aspirers.” That’s 27 million Filipinos seeking to create a personal space online.
In rapid growth markets like the Philippines that have seen recent, sustained investment in infrastructure, users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways, the study added.
Meanwhile, in Mobile Life 2011, De Ocampo noted that as “static” functionality such as SMS and still imaging become commoditized, growth will be driven through further demand for social functionality and new demands for video calling, streaming and sharing services.
The number of mobile web users visiting SNS grew from 30 percent to 46 percent globally, and from 26 percent to 50 percent in emerging markets, leapfrogging many of the developed markets. In the Philippines, Facebook ranked third as the top mobile content/service provider in 2010.
In addition, only 18 percent of consumers globally managed to upload photos or video directly to the web from their mobiles.
“With mobiles increasingly becoming the primary device for Internet access and communication, particularly in emerging markets, entertainment and multimedia features are a key requirement for engaging with customers. Handset manufacturers need to ensure that entertainment offers, particularly mobile music, gaming, pictures, video and social networking are available and easy to access. Many are missing a trick in not bringing more smartphones to market in high-growth countries,” TNS global technology sector managing director James Fergusson said.
Camera features may have reached a saturation point, growing only one percent between 2010 and 2011, but 24-percent global consumers say the ability to take and share pictures and video will play a major role in their choice of next device. Mobile Life 2011 shows that strongest growth in new services in the last 12 months has come from social video (10 percent to 15 percent) and Live TV (nine percent to 12 percent). Over half of consumers are interested in video calling, despite not yet using the service and half are interested in watching live TV or in downloading or streaming video.
In Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa, demand for Live TV in particular is higher still, reaching upwards of 70 percent. “Multimedia content presents an opportunity to leverage growth potential in emerging economies. Income constraints in many of these markets ensure the importance of imaging and video services through mobiles increases,” Fergusson noted.
Partnerships will become increasingly important as handset manufacturers look to maintain market share as tablets rapidly expand on the scene. Tablets are already generating substantial momentum, with intended ownership rates as high as 31 percent in Asia and 28 percent in Europe. Fortunately for handset manufacturers, consumers typically view the tablet either as a complementary device, or as a replacement for a PC, rather than a mobile.
Further findings from the Mobile Life 2011 study indicate that content and service offerings are also playing an increasingly important role in terms of operating systems, with consumer loyalty supporting the continued growth of Android and iOS systems.
Google’s operating system – Android, as well as OMS and Tapas – have gained 24 percent share in the past 12 months, growing from nine percent to 33 percent.
Over half of Apple and Android customers access social media via their mobiles daily, but this figure drops to 44 percent and 41 percent for Windows Mobile and Symbian, respectively. –Mary Ann Ll. Reyes (The Philippine Star)

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