Social networking driving up Pinoys’ Internet usage – study


By JM Tuazon – In yet another proof of how Filipinos are addicted to social networking, a recent study by insight and consultancy firm TNS showed that Filipinos’ social media frenzy are driving the growth of mobile Internet in the Philippines.

According to TNS’ Digital Life and Mobile Life surveys for 2011, nine out of 10 Filipinos who surf the Internet on their phones have accessed social networking sites, a sharp 68 percent increase from 2010 figures.

Moreover, mobile access to microblogging sites such as Twitter jumped 325 percent in the past year, signifying Filipinos’ growing penchant for sharing their thoughts online.

Although SMS continues to dominate Filipinos’ usage of mobile devices, the study showed that multimedia and online capabilities (social networking, messaging, surfing, etc) have experienced tremendous growth.

On the personal computer front, the study found that social networking is quickly outpacing traditional e-mail platforms as the communication method of choice, with Filipinos spending a longer time on social networks (2.8 hours a week) than on catching up with e-mail messages (2.5 hours a week).

Of those who are active on social networks, the study found that on the average, Filipinos have 171 connections on social networks, with the 21 to 24 age bracket having the most friends online at 298.

In contrast, the world average for number of connections falls at only 120 friends.

Just recently, the Philippines was touted by finance news site 24/7 Wall St as the social networking capital of the world for having the highest social network penetration rate among Internet users, pegged at 95 percent.

Digital transition

Not surprisingly, 81 percent of survey respondents watch TV daily while 43 percent listen to radio on a daily basis.

However, “digital” consumption (i.e., online activity) has surpassed Newspaper and Magazine consumption at 36 percent versus 28 and 11 percent, respectively.

The typical Filipino daily Internet user is male and aged 25 to 44 years old, the study noted.

In terms of online consumption, 36 percent of online Filipinos aged 16-60 years old, class ABCD, access the internet daily. That’s 11 million Filipinos — three times more than the entire population of Singapore and 1.5 times more than the population of Hong Kong.

On the average, Filipinos spend 29 percent of their daily Internet surfing time reading e-mail, 28 percent on browsing social networking sites, and 20 percent on multimedia activities.

On the mobile front, meanwhile, the study showed that while the run-of-the-mill SMS feature is still the top usage driver in the Philippines, many prefer to access their digital music, calendar, video calling and Bluetooth over their mobile phones.

The study results for mobile consumption also showed that 81 percent of Filipinos own a mobile phone, surpassed only by DVD players as the most widely used and owned personal electronic device.

At least 21 percent of these mobile phone owners are multi-SIM holders, a figure higher than the global and emerging Asia average.

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