With Christmas just around the corner, Google Philippines is advising local merchants to play it smart this holiday season by being ready for the mobile-powered “supershopper.”
Gabby Roxas, country marketing manager of Google Philippines, gave this advice at the recent unveiling of the Ipsos Report on Micro Moments involving Filipino consumers at Shangri-La at the Fort in BGC, explaining that the Philippines is opening up to a new way of shopping, thanks to their smartphones.
The rise of mobile shopping
“Pinoys are moving to mobile fast and we’ll see the shift in how consumers engage with brands this Christmas season. Brands need to make sure they are present on mobile and now is the perfect time to get Christmas campaigns in shape for the Christmas break,” Roxas said.
This is important, Roxas noted, because six out of ten Filipinos (or 61 percent) already own smartphones and these mobile phones have now become an integral part of the Philippine way of life.
“Sixty-one percent is quite high,” Roxas said, adding that the Philippines’ rate of smartphone adoption is just behind the US with 72 percent but ahead of Japan with 59 percent.
Moreover, he said these phones are always with us, helping us to “learn, discover, or buy something” during what Google calls our “micro-moments” in life. He noted that this can be seen in how many times we check our phones in a single day.
As of present, the global average of how many times we check our phones is 150 times a day—but given the nature of Filipinos, this is probably more, he said.
“We don’t go online anymore. We live online,” Roxas pointed out.
With these smartphones in hand, Filipinos are also able to shop online—leading to a new type of consumer: the mobile-powered “supershopper.”
From discovering products to doing research and making their purchases, this new type of consumer is making shopping more efficient—even as they make more informed choices about what they buy.
“2016 is actually the year of the supershopper,” he said.
Attributes of a 'supershopper'
Roxas noted that the “supershopper” has four attributes that make them stand out from other Filipino consumers.
First of all, these consumers are able to decide faster on what they want to buy. According to Roxas, 88 percent of Filipinos who use their smartphones to make purchases said that online research helped them decide faster as compared to previous years.
Likewise, 82 percent of these consumers don’t have a specific brand in mind when they’re looking for something to buy or when they have a specific need in mind. Thanks to their smartphones, they’re able to consider a number of options.
In fact, 72 percent of Filipino mobile shoppers were able to buy a brand they wouldn’t have known or considered if not for their online research—compared to 33 percent in the US.
Roxas underlined this particular point of “disruption” of the consumers’ buying process: that consumers—who may be used to a particular brand—are open to try out new brands, thanks to the research they do online.
A third attribute of the “supershopper” is that they use their smartphones as their “wish list”, i.e. 51 percent of smartphone buyers use their mobile as their go-to inspiration of what to buy before heading out to the stores.
Lastly, these shoppers use their smartphones, leading all the way to the stores: from looking up the directions to the store as well as the different branches, to calling up the store for information about the product they want to buy.
According to Roxas, 78 percent of smartphone users have used a store locator. Likewise, around 80 percent of them still consult their smartphones even while in the store itself to look up information.
“We want to feel good about our decisions,” Roxas said.
Getting Christmas campaigns ready
With this information in mind, Roxas said companies need to ensure that their Christmas campaigns consider “supershoppers” this holiday season.
He recommended that their brands be available on mobile: from having a mobile-ready website to having instructional or informational videos that customers can view online about their products.
Likewise, Roxas said companies should be able to deftly introduce their brands into consumers’ consideration at the particular moment of disruption he cited earlier. This can be done via relevant topics and content (like videos and reviews) that people look up when doing their research on what product to buy.
Roxas said this is “the perfect opportunity for you to step in and introduce yourself.”
To sum up, the Google marketing manager said that with people doing more research and evaluation of their options, they’ve become more confident about their purchases. This results in better experiences with the brand’s products.
Moreover, he said marketing campaigns can benefit from the rise of the new mobile-powered “supershoppers” because consumers are now more open to considering other brands when buying something.
Joseph Nacino is an editor and communications consultant who has worked for the Department of Budget and Management, Philstar.com and various corporate clients. A Neil Gaiman Graphic Fiction awardee, he writes short stories and has been anthologized in the Philippine Speculative Fiction series, and co-edited Diaspora Ad Astra and Demons of the New Year.