More Filipino consumers using business messaging platforms

By Patricia B. Mirasol, Reporter

MORE Filipino consumers are using online messaging platforms to reach businesses, with firms also recognizing the importance of engaging with customers, a study showed.

A 2022 study on business messaging by Meta and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that over 40% of Filipinos messaged businesses more frequently now versus before the coronavirus pandemic.

Three in five Filipino consumers also chat with businesses at least once every two to three weeks. This trend was similar across all age groups, particularly among millennials and Gen Zs who message businesses up to eight times a month.

Filipino consumers (71% of respondents) were likewise among the leading adopters of using messaging to chat with a business.

The study titled “Business Messaging: The Quiet Channel Revolution across Tech” surveyed 6,500 respondents across Asia-Pacific (APAC), including Australia, Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

“The Philippines has leapfrogged many markets in terms of adoption and engagement online,” said Anthony Oundjian, managing director and senior partner at BCG, in an Aug. 16 media round table.

Mr. Oundjian said bulk of the growth of e-commerce in the country happened during the pandemic.

“I think that Filipinos remain among the most engaged and the faster to adopt new services, once the supply side is ready,” he added.

In the region, one in three consumers in APAC said they chat with businesses at least once a week. Nearly two-thirds (or 65%) prefer contacting businesses through chat rather than through e-mails or calls.

Meanwhile, almost all (or 97%) of businesses recognize that messaging apps are important for success. The study showed businesses have been finding more ways to use messaging to connect with customers, whether it be for inquiries, lead generation, consultative support, re-marketing, or after-sales.

There are differences in customer messages received across industries, Mr. Oundjian said.

“[For] food and beverage, messages are around basic inquiries, feedback, and recurring notifications,” he said. “For products [geared] for mothers and kids, there is more of an [exchange of advice] on the relevance of the products, and the fit to their specific needs, so there’s more personal engagement that can also translate to lead generation and sales.”

More than half of the firms interviewed said they used business messaging for after-sales service. An average of 69% also reported using messaging to process orders and transactions.

“It’s very important that each business thinks about what’s relevant for them, what works, and what can be scaled,” Mr. Oundjian said.

He added that many of the questions in the study (such as how many times respondents went online) were non-platform specific, except for those that asked particulars (such as the respondents’ preferred channels).

“Pretty much anyone who starts messaging sees a dramatic increase in their sales,” said John M. Rubio, country director at Facebook Philippines.

Almost every Filipino is on Facebook multiple hours a day, he said at the Meta-organized event. The Philippines is the leading country worldwide on Messenger, he added.

“More and more people are starting to share stories, do reels…” Mr. Rubio said. “We [have the] ability to stitch that audience and connect them with [business] customers.”

He noted how neighborhood shops can create a storefront on Facebook within a day.

“To get yourself discovered on Facebook, on Instagram, and then be able to immediately translate that discovery into a potential purchase — a direct connection with the customer — is unparalleled by any other platform,” he said.

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