Of all the countries in the world, the country that uses Social Media the most is the Philippines. The average citizen of the South East Asian archipelago spends 4 hours and 17 minutes using Social Media. This compares to 2 hours and 6 minutes in the United States, and 1 hour 47 minutes in the UK.
Many people, including myself, are surprised to see that a country where only 58% of the country have access to the internet, and at 3.2MB per second, their average internet download speed is one the slowest in the South East Asian region. Thailand, China, Malaysia and Indonesia at 9.3MB, 4.1MB, 5.2MB and 3.9MB respectively, all have faster internet download speeds on average. Only Laos and Myanmar (Burma), have slower internet speeds at 2.4MB and 2.8MB respectively.
The Internet Speed Map
Some interesting facts about technology in the Philippines are below:
- Amazingly enough, in a country of 101 Million people, there are 119 Million active SIM Cards, so there are multiple people with multiple mobile phones.
- Snapchat is growing there, especially among young people.
- The Philippines is the fastest growing market in Asia for popular apps, downloads of Netflix, Spotify and movie streaming app HOOQ are growing year on year, this also means a subscription to these services.
- Uber has recently been made available in the country. Manila, Davao and tourism hotspot Cebu are amongst the cities in which it has been introduced. So have other sharing services like Air BnB.
- 75% of Filipino adults do not have a bank account. This means that they do not have credit histories and therefore lending rates are high. Many people borrow from disreputable lenders, of which interest rates are upwards of 20% per month or 3-400% annually.
This means the need for innovative FinTech is high, but the are different needs to be met to that in the UK. The number of UK adults with a bank account is closer to 90%.
- Online shopping in the Philippines is very different to how it is in the west. There is no presence of Amazon and there’s no online grocery shopping, most products are still bought from brick and mortar shops, with little brick and click integration. There are online shops that people buy from, but it is nowhere near as prevalent as it is in the UK.
- The Apple/Android OS Market share is 17/80, this is 19/78 in the United Kingdom.
My Opinion and Predictions
My opinion is that the Philippines, although not as technologically developed as the UK, is developing at a faster rate, both economically and technologically, and as their infrastructure gets better, Filipinos will start using Smartphones and internet connected devices more and more, and as they are the people that spend the most time on Social Media, they are, therefore, in some respects, the biggest
market for companies like Facebook and Google. For companies like that, attention and time are their currency.
The view in the Philippines and East Asia as a whole is that mobile phones and technology are a trend that makes their lives easier, whereas in the UK, although the benefits of these devices are well documented, Social Media is touted by the Media as a menace. Many are even asking if Social Media is the New Tobacco, due to its addictiveness and mental health concerns.
A video from the Telegraph – Social Media is the new Tobacco
Articles which I found useful when writing this are as below: