The Philippines mobile internet crowd: young, affluent, and growing fast

in Mobile trends
on Tuesday July 8, 2014 @ 10:33

With a population of 97 million, the Philippines is an appealing South-East Asian market for brands. The country has been slow off the mark when it comes to mobile internet penetration and usage but is catching up fast with its more advanced neighbours like Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Our Philippines mobile trends report combines data from a survey of 900 mobile internet users (smartphone and feature phone users, altogether a representative sample of the market) and other publicly available data sources.

Philippines mobile internet trends Source: Sivesh Kumar

Key highlights:

  • Smartphone penetration at 15%, expected to reach 50% in 2015
  • Samsung is the leading Android brand with over 43% market share
  • Very young internet users: 88% of the total mobile internet population is 34 or younger
  • 1/4 are not happy with the speed of internet on their phone
  • Facebook Messenger dominates the chat app market with 82% using it

Smartphone penetration set to take off

Though mobile penetration is high in the Philippine at 101%, the number of smartphones is relatively low. Smartphone penetration of 15% makes it the lowest in South-East Asia. For comparison, Malaysia’s is at 80%, Thailand’s at 49%, and Indonesia’s at 23%.

Oxford Business Group however estimates that the penetration will explode over the next year and reach 50% in 2015.

Philippines Android breakdown

Handset price is the decisive factor as almost 20% of the population live on less than $1.25 a day.

Local brands like Cherry Mobile, My Phone, and Star Mobile are expected to drive the future growth. Lower priced Android phones from the trio range from $50-$250 and are within reach to a much wider population.

Chinese Huawei is also aggressively targeting the mid-priced smartphone market, aiming to gain 10% market share by 2015. In June 2014 it launched Ascend G6 at half the price ($228) compared to the previous model P6. Other Chinese brands like Oppo and Xiaomi are likewise eyeing the country for their Asian expansion.

Filipinos are crazy for social and apps

An incredible 94% of internet users use Facebook in the Philippines. To put that in perspective, only 54% in the US do.

Facebook absolutely dominates the chat app space with 82% using it to stay in touch. Viber and Skype, both with 27% share, are long behind and the giants in the chat space - WhatsApp and WeChat haven't even crossed the 20% mark.

Filipino social media users spend 4 hours a day in all social channels making them the most engaged in the Asia Pacific region.

Price is key for mobile (data) plans

Smart Communications and Globe Telecom are the two biggest network operators with a combined market share of 83%. Bulk of their customers opt for lower priced mobile plans with over 50% paying less than $20 a month.

44% of respondents spend less than $12 a month on their mobile plan, and only 3% spend more than $41 per month.

Monthly mobile expenditures, Philippines 2014

Even though the prices of mobile packages are low, more than half of respondents’ mobile plans still include unlimited internet.

The full report embedded below includes all the data from our research, including:

  • Mobile internet demographics
  • Currently owned consumer electronics and intended purchases
  • Mcommerce and its impact on alternative mobile payment methods
  • Typhoon apps and mobile emergency alerts
  • Popular music streaming services

More detailed data on request

If you're interested in the data tables to get a more detailed look into our research results then please get in touch »

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