Which item can Filipinos do without for the rest of their lives?


In a list that includes soap and shampoo, vehicle, cosmetics, insurance, and softdrinks, more Filipinos are saying they would rather lose those than go through life without Internet access.


In a survey conducted by the Eden Strategy Institute which probes into the behavior of consumers in selected countries in Asia, it was revealed that nearly half of Filipino respondents, or about 48 percent, said they cannot afford to lose Internet access in their lives.


Only 38 percent of Filipinos said they can’t do without soap and shampoo ‚ items which are considered basic necessities.


Internet and bathing products actually ranked second and third in the list of items Filipinos considered indispensable. It’s almost no surprise that mobile phones ranked first, getting 59 percent, in the list of important things for Filipinos.


What is surprising though is that this sentiment of favoring the Internet over soap came from Filipino respondents who belong to the so-called emerging middle class.


This is the first of several Eden initiatives to contribute to the understanding of the unique needs and behavior of the region’s EMC (emerging middle class) consumers. It is the first survey of its kind that reveals their earning, saving, and spending behavior; their hopes, fears, possessions, material attachments, and aspirations, Eden said, in a Eden Strategy Institute launches the Emerging Middle Class Initiative statement posted on its website.


To get this insight from the emerging middle class in key Asian countries, Eden targeted 1,000 mobile users each from Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam to become the respondents of the survey.


Researchers said the average age of the sample was 24. About 69 percent of them are males. The largest proportion of respondents was employed as office executives and sales. Interestingly, the second-largest proportion was self-employed. Of the four countries, the Philippines had the highest percentage of EMC respondents who were self-employed, researcher said.


In the same survey, Filipinos also ranked first in terms of ownership of smartphone, computer, and tablets, with 57 percent. Vietnam ranked a far second with 44 percent. About 53 percent of Filipinos also own a television set.


Internet penetration was also the highest in the Philippines, with about 58 percent of respondents having Internet access.


The Eden Institute echoed similar studies that reflect the shift in Filipinos’ behavior towards digital and online media. In a 2012 TNS Digital Life survey, More Filipinos now using Internet for news, information, it was also found out that Internet takes a more central role in their lives, particularly in the media they prefer to use.


TNS said 45 percent of Filipino respondents connected to the Internet compared to 36 percent who listened to radio, 12 percent who read newspapers, and 4 percent magazines.


Studies like these that show the continuing transformation of the Filipino mind set are now forcing brands in the Philippines to rethink their marketing strategies.


Companies in the Philippines are, in fact, pouring more of their marketing resources to digital, such as app development as well as inbound marketing‚ a most popular tool, content marketing.


The Philippines is not alone. In the US, more brands are choosing to invest in content marketing to boost their online presence and customer engagement. For instance, the Pace- Insights Archives  said US marketers are now spending nearly 1/3 of their budgets on content marketing. It also said that 54% of marketers say they will increase their content marketing spending in the next 12 months.