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Nielsen: 3 in 10 Filipinos now own a smartphone

Three in 10 Filipinos now own a smartphone in the Philippines, resulting to more locals accessing the internet on their phones instead of desktops.

Nielsen’s latest Evolving Digital Consumer report for the third quarter found that smartphone ownership is now at 34% or more than double the figures recorded in 2013.

Consequently, internet access in the country is rapidly shifting to mobile, with 75% of respondents surfing the web using their phones. Valuable to marketers, they devote an average of around three hours or 174 minutes of their day surfing the net on smartphones.

Carlo Santos, executive director for Consumer Insights and Technology Industry Practice, Nielsen Philippines, owes the shift and usage trends to the availability of cheaper devices, especially for the younger marker.

He said that 16 to 24 year olds continue to dominate, owning the largest chunk of ownership from 33% last year to 39% in 2014.

“As we have more consumers connecting to the internet with more frequency, with longer duration, and through various portable devices, marketers have to consider how to tap into this opportunity to engage with the evolving consumer,” Santos adds.

Tablet ownership is considerably smaller, with ownership is at 8% in 2014 compared to 5% last year, but it is turning out to be the gadget of choice at home. Nielsen found that that 9 in 10 tablet owners use the device in their homes, accessing the internet through a wifi connection – territory used to be the turf of television.

What are Filipinos doing on mobile?

Most of their time are spent consuming entertainment related content (78 minutes per day) followed by apps (56 minutes per day) and communication services like chat and voice over IP (VOIP) (40 minutes per day).

Google Play Store ranks as the most popular app with 90% reach and an average of two minutes consumption per smartphone user, reflecting the popularity of smartphones running on Android in the Philippines.

However, the most used app is Facebook with and an average usage of 37 minutes a day per smartphone owner and just one point shy from the poll leader’s overall reach with 89%.

“Smartphone owners are a captive audience, spending an average of 174 minutes a day on their smartphones which makes smartphones a good channel to reach consumers. However, for consumers to pay attention to the ad, it has to be different from what they usually see,” Santos said.

“To stay relevant to the consumers, TV and the brands that advertise in this medium must think beyond traditional programming and integrate digital strategies… Effective engagement entails more than awareness of the brand,” he recommended.

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