Monday, December 11, 2023

DIGITAL INFLUENCER | AI and metaverse: New frontiers in Pinoy consumer behavior and marketing strategies

I recently attended the Philippine Marketing Association (PMA)  metaverse Hybrid Conference. Germaine Reyes, CEO of Synergy Market Research + Strategic Consultancy, shared insights from Synergy-YouGov’s 2023 research on the metaverse and Artificial Intelligence, its implications, and opportunities in the future of marketing. It is a collaboration research the company has conducted for PMA.

Reyes’ presentation gave a glimpse into the Filipino psyche, covering their attitudes towards emerging technologies like AI and the metaverse, as well as their financial and mental health status.

I am sharing some of the insights from the study although note that with our diverse population, it is not intended to generalize as a representation of the views of all Filipinos.

Artificial intelligence: Awareness and perception

Reyes revealed that 49% of Filipinos are aware of artificial intelligence (AI), showcasing a significant level of awareness in the country based on its representative sample. Gen Z leads the charge at 52% awareness.

The perception of AI is generally positive, with 73% of the population, cutting across generations, holding favorable views. This optimism is most pronounced among the younger generations, with Gen Z and Millennials leading the charge at 76% and 71% respectively. Although Gen X (71%) and Baby Boomers (68%) are not lagging.

However, there is also a 63% negative perception toward AI tools. This brings the positive net perception to 12%. Gen Z and Millennials have a positive net perception at 14% and 11%. Not surprisingly, Gen X and Baby Boomers have lower positive net perceptions at 7% and -2% respectively.

The positive outlook towards AI encompasses its potential to enhance lives, make jobs easier, stimulate creative thinking, increase productivity and competitiveness, and drive industry innovations.

Sixty percent of AI Optimists in the study are Gen Z and Millennials. 48% are male. They think in the future, AI will help humans in most of their daily tasks.

When I saw this part of the presentation, it made me think that brands need to be creative in integrating and using AI to reach this particular audience who notice advertisements on the Internet (77%), prefer sustainable brands (79%), and finding innovative ways to market their goods (80%).

The metaverse: Getting attention

The metaverse has captured the attention of 44% of Filipinos indicating growing interest in this virtual space where they can have a thinking and virtual part of themselves.

The engagement is particularly high among Gen Z, also considered Filipino metaverse Trialists, who make up 55% of those exploring this digital realm. They are mostly working (70%) and believed to be early adopters of new technology products and services (72%).

Filipinos show a keen interest in using the metaverse in various virtual social activities, including gaming, socializing with friends, travel, movie watching, job hunting, attending workshops, shopping, and even selling items, emphasizing the potential of the metaverse as a social and commercial platform.

There is a positive opinion on using the metaverse to interact more meaningfully with people with similar interests (43%), friends, and family members (42%).

Worries are also noted on the possibility that metaverse use will reduce in-person interaction (32%), make people less fulfilled in their lives (24%), and their actual lives will be less better in comparison to their metaverse persona (22%).

Financial challenges amidst economic chaos

On the economic aspect, Reyes notes fluctuations in Filipinos’ ability to meet financial needs based on their monthly earning, with a slight improvement noted from March 2022 (42%) to November 2023 (37%).

However, the economic challenges brought by inflation and insufficient income have led to 80% planning small (52%) to large (28%) household expenditure cutbacks in the next 12 months. This calls for more helpful economic policies and government support.

Factors that will drive purchase include affordability (62%), brand trust (54%), and satisfaction (48%).

Psychological distress: A concerning trend on mental health

Reyes also shared the level of psychological distress among Filipinos with 76% experiencing mild to severe distress, predominantly among females (60%), Gen Z (51%), and 50% with low household income (below P20,000).

The coping mechanisms currently employed include leisure activities (53%) and social interactions (45%), highlighting the importance of community and leisure in mental well-being. Some indulge in comfort food (41%), avoid negative news (42%), and engage in hobbies (37%).

Moving forward

There’s a lot of buzz discussing artificial intelligence and metaverse these days. Although there is a lot of hype on whether can these make a big difference for all of us. We can’t ignore challenges including privacy issues and the impact on jobs.

As the future of work is also changing shifting to virtual and hybrid environments, how Filipinos earn income may also change where per hour, per project, and virtual currencies may become the normal soon rather than the exception.

With these financial and psychological pressure we all face, where government chaos is not helping, we need concerned industry leaders who can propose helpful policy changes, better social support systems, and more community-based interventions.

To market for the future, Reyes recommends addressing the challenges Filipinos are facing. “Use AI and metaverse to drive brand meaningfulness and add value in people’s lives,” she concluded.


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