High prices, more than pandemic, scare Pinoys


KANTAR, a major global data analytics company, said 7 out of 10 Filipinos are more concerned with the rising grocery prices compared with experiencing another pandemic.

“Now, when we asked our respondents what concerns them most, on top of the list and on top of their minds would be rising grocery prices. So if you look at it, it’s actually besting. They’re even more scared of the rising prices over another pandemic crisis,” Laurice Obana, Consumer and Shopper Insight Director at the Worldpanel Division of Kantar in the Philippines said.

The Shopperscope 2023 report, which studied the financial state and concerns of 2,000 Filipino households in relation to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) purchases, reported that next to the rising grocery prices, 50 percent of Filipinos are wary of experiencing another pandemic.

Meanwhile, 39 percent of the surveyed households expressed concern over the impact of climate change; potential fuel shortages, 34 percent; physical health of self and others, with 30 percent; future financial security, 30 percent; mental health of self and others, 30 percent; political conflict with other countries, 28 percent.

In particular, Kantar said in its statement that when choosing where to buy FMCG products, those who participated in Shopperscope 2023 expressed the “continued importance” of value and convenience during inflationary times.

Obana stressed that when it comes to value, Filipinos put more emphasis on price and affordability in 2023 compared to last year.

The report illustrated the change in the behavior of Filipino shoppers when it comes to purchasing FMCG products. In 2022, the study noted that Filipinos only give importance to the “overall value for money,” while in 2023, it said Filipino consumers give importance to “not just value but price.”

In particular, the respondents divulged the factors that they consider when buying FMCG products when considering the value of a product, such as, “it makes me feel I spend my money wisely,”  “offers good promotions [Price-off is most important];” “Prices are low,” and “generic brands are offered.”

Meanwhile, the report said that Filipino consumers in 2023 also take into consideration access to products and not just convenience. The respondents defined having access as: the store is open for long hours, is near other facilities, location is very accessible, and near other stores.

Based on the report, another important consideration Filipino shoppers look at is “ease in shopping.” Under this factor, the respondents said this means having well-organized shelves, “easily find what I need,” “promotions are clearly signaled,” and “paying for products is quick.”

3 groups of shoppers

Meanwhile, the Shopperscope 2023 report also identified three distinct groups of Filipino shoppers: Struggling or those who find themselves unable to cover their expenses; the Managing, who always find ways to make both ends meet; and the Comfortable who are the “least constrained” when it comes to their budgets and are able to set aside extra money for savings.

According to the report, the Struggling “come from all walks of life but find themselves unable to cover their expenses.” This group has the biggest household, comprising five to six members.

“The Struggling are foremost concerned about rising prices and another pandemic happening,” the report said.

Meanwhile, the report said compared to last year, the Managing group, which finds ways to make ends meet, now see their financial situation as “stable and may have even gotten slightly better.”

It said the Managing shoppers have an average of three to four members.

“The Managing shoppers are concerned about the same things that Struggling shoppers are—Rising prices and another pandemic happening,” the study noted.

Meanwhile, the Comfortable group is the “least constrained” with budgets, said the report.

“They have extra for savings and are in stable to improving financial state compared to last year,” the report said.

“While the Struggling and Managing have the same concerns, the Comfortable are not only concerned about the Rising prices of goods. They are concerned about their health as well as their financial security for the future,” the study emphasized.

‘Sari-sari’ stores

According to Kantar, sari-sari stores continue to be the “FMCG channel of choice for Filipinos.”

“Buying in sari-sari stores remains uneventful and a regular trip for the majority of Filipinos and they are doing so in increased frequency, totaling 212 trips in 2023, up 5 percent from the year before. Almost all households, 99.7 percent, shop in their neighborhood sari-sari stores, which are usually five to 10 minutes away from their homes,” Kantar said.

Moving forward, Obana said “brands must be able to win Filipinos in that ‘Moment of Truth’ across retail channels by communicating the value that their products offer and why they need to make it into the shopper basket” with various concerns and a fixed FMCG budget.

Kantar said the survey was mounted at the end of February this year and it was finished in April 2023.

The findings were released in June 2023.