Use the web to reach the OFW market

Aside from sending over US$20 Billion or so in remittances based on current statistics, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) is the market every Philippine business should consider catering to. And being web enabled, reaching out to them online is an effective approach.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

31 January 2012

Firms told to take advantage of large OFW Web presence

FIRMS WERE offered up more reasons to beef up their online presence yesterday, this time with a market research firm pointing to the large presence of overseas Filipino workers on the Web as well as the growing use of the Internet for window shopping.

“Basically it depends on the [firms’] target market but in general, I would recommend for them to not only have a presence online but to have interaction with customers as well,” Lester E. Sualog, TNS (Taylor Nelson Sofres) Philippines, Inc. associate research director, said at a briefing on the of the firm’s Digital Life study.

The study covered 60 countries including the Philippines, with a total of 1,000 local respondents. The survey was done in the fourth quarter of 2011.

“Among our respondents, 20% have families working abroad and 4% have families who are permanent immigrants abroad,” Mr. Sualog said.

The study showed that 81% of overseas workers use the Internet, 77% use mobile phones, and 24% use landlines in communicating with families abroad.

Mr. Sualog noted that most that utilize the Internet communicate through social networking sites such as Facebook.

Meanwhile, of the total 1,000 respondents that use the Internet, 98% are members of social networks, and from this number, 21% engage with brands online, according to the study.

“This translate to roughly 12.07 million Filipinos that are part of social networking sites, with 2.53 million engaging with brands and 2.05 million that talk about brands online,” Mr. Sualog said.

“[Most online Filipinos] write praises or positive things about brands online. The younger crowd tends to be more active online,” Mr. Sualog said.

The online interaction has also lead to actual purchase of products, he noted.

“Research is actually happening prior to actual purchase. For example, when buying new cars, about 18% would do window shopping online before they do the actual purchase,” Mr. Sualog said.

Firms must, thus, first fix their own Web sites prior to penetrating social networking sites, which remain very popular to Filipinos.

“It’s important for firms to have that listening mechanism. They can also fix their own website first prior to going to social networks,” Mr. Sualog said.

Mr. Sualog further noted how the digital platform has outperformed other platforms except for television as a daily choice of users.

“The digital platform has also outperformed radio, newspapers and magazine with more users preferring it on a daily basis. Although there is still growth coming from the television platform,” Mr. Sualog said. — K. A. Martin

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?Section=Corporate&title=Firms told to take advantage of large OFW Web presence&id=45951

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