COVID-19 Pandemic Makes Filipinos Mindful Of Personal Finances

With the uncertainties brought about by the current crisis, Filipinos are now looking at various ways to address their personal finance concerns, making it the most read topic on the internet after Enhanced Community Quarantine and Health.

A white paper released by AdSpark, Inc., a portfolio company under Globe Telecom’s 917Ventures,  showed that consumption of Personal Finances as a topic grew by 800% from January 2020 to end of March 2020 when most Filipinos were required to stay at home.

This was supported by the Global Web Index which tells in numbers how people foresee the impact of the situation on their personal finances.  Of the Filipinos surveyed, 65% believed that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a big impact on their personal finances while 15.7% said the effect could be greater.

In February and March, the conversation around personal finances also shifted from loans to the effects of COVID-19 on oil prices and the stock market as well as the global economy. With such volatility in the economy,  there is lower interest in growing future money and greater interest in maintaining present money.

“COVID-19 feels like a second chance to me.  From now on,  I want to save more and fast track myself to the road of financial independence,” said Jane Cruz, 36, who takes care of her immunocompromised parents. “If before, my savings were simply to prepare for a rainy day, I now look at it in the perspective of preparing finances in case only one person in the household is able to provide income, just like now.”

Income is an even bigger concern for those part of the gig economy.  Sam, another interviewee from a gig company, said that her fear is  “Zero client requests. Basically no clients equals no pay.  Difficult to look for other companies to partner with since most businesses have put their operations on hold too.”

Small businesses are also afraid of the impact of recession.  “You cannot expect consumers to spend and money to just come pouring in.  Both consumers and brands will act more conservatively so that the economy will not move as quickly as before,” said Liz, who works for a logistics and delivery company.

And since this is a global issue, Overseas Filipino Workers are hit as well.  On a national level, remittances are affected while on a personal level, their families suffer too.

However, despite their worries about personal finances, Filipinos tend to avoid the topic when posting on social media.  Instead they  fight for the more financially-challenged who need more help from the government. They would also rather talk about politics, health and ECQ.

According to the local study, at first glance, those on social media seemed to be concerned only about those who need to make financial ends meet.  But what people read about online personally tells a deeper story:  They are, actually, concerned with their own financials.

AdSpark uncovers the real concerns, fears, motivations, and expectations of a Filipino consumer during the Covid-19 crisis, attempting to tackle and map out behavioral changes and formations of habit, post-crisis.

For brands and marketing practitioners to keep in close touch with their respective target audiences, it is important to continuously understand the ever-evolving Filipino and his content consumption - How he copes with the radical changes caused by the outbreak and explores how it will potentially change him for years to come.

“Using our brand planning proprietary tools, we wanted to delve deeper and understand the Filipino psyche in this very critical period. This is a provocative way to help leaders in various enterprises understand what consumers need and want in this age of crisis” said Onat Roldan, AdSpark President and CEO.

AdSpark generated the report by using its own AdSpark intelligence platform. AdSpark Intelligence uses social listening that tracks mentions, comments, and sentiments across the internet; and content consumption which measures what Filipinos are reading and viewing online.

To learn more and explore the other four tension points in this study, download the full report here.

Zach Golez

A lifestyle blogger based in Iloilo City

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