Compared to its Southeast Asian neighbours, the Philippines is quite an anomaly. Its mobile penetration is high at 101 per cent, but it has a dismally low smartphone penetration, which stands at 15 per cent, said a report published by On Device Research.
This, however, will not be the case come 2015, read the report, which cited Oxford Business Group’s prediction that the penetration will reach 50 per cent by next year.
For background and comparison purposes, Malaysia has a smartphone penetration of 80 per cent, followed by Thailand at 49 per cent, and Indonesia at 23 per cent.
On Device Research had surveyed 900 mobile internet users (both smartphone and feature phone users) in the country, and other publicly available data sources.
Who’s your typical Filipino mobile internet user? The typical Filipino mobile internet user, as broken down by the report, is a 34-year-old or younger individual with Facebook Messenger downloaded on his or her devices.
To be precise, 88 per cent of the total mobile internet population is under the age of 34.
In addition, 82 per cent of people surveyed use Facebook Messenger, which dominates the chat app market in the Philippines. While Skype and Viber are both top contenders for the second place at 27 per cent, WhatsApp and WeChat are still far behind with less than 20 per cent of the market conquered.
These Filipino mobile internet users are also highly price-conscious. Thus, lower-priced Android phones from local brands will drive smartphone growth in the country. The Philippines has also caught the eye of Chinese smartphone makers such as Xiaomi, Huawei and Oppo.
Furthermore, 44 per cent of respondents were said to spend less than US$12 a month on mobile plans. Only a small minority of three per cent spend more than US$41 every month.
Interestingly, however, 52 per cent of those surveyed said that they had bought something (virtual or physical) on their phones in the last week.