MANILA, Philippines – Once a status symbol, the cellular phone has become an ubiquitous gadget among Filipinos, with 84% of those living in Metro Manila owning a mobile phone in 2011, up from 81% in the previous year.
According to the TNS Mobile Life 2011 study, which was previewed to the media on Tuesday, the mobile phone is now as widely owned as the DVD player among Metro Manila residents.
The No. 3 gadget among respondents was the digital camera, followed by the desktop computer, MP3 player and the laptop computer.
According to Galex Cabrera, the leader for the TNS Mobile Life initiative, the smartphone is also fast gaining acceptance among respondents, regardless of socioeconomic class. Ownership of smartphones increased to 34% from 26% in 2010.
Some 67% of those from the AB class own a smartphone, up from only 40% in the previous study. Among class C respondents, 51% said they have a smartphone compared to only 22% in 2010, while among those from class D, 26% have a smartphone from 17%.
Nokia still leads among mobile phone makers with a 64% market share among Metro Manila users but this is down from 70% in the previous study. Samsung has grown significantly with 12% saying they own a Samsung handset, compared to 7% in 2010. Also gaining market share are Cherry Mobile at 6% from 2%, and MyPhone at 5% from 2%.
Cabrera also noted that mobile Internet access in the morning has gone up compared to the 2010 study. Mobile Internet use peaks in the late afternoon and is lowest during the evening commute. It picks up again in the late evening and shortly before sleeping.
Cabrera didn’t offer a conclusive reason as to why mobile Internet use has increased in the morning but said this could be due to the perception that Internet traffic is lighter at that time. He also mentioned that consumers may be “loading” more in the morning.
The full TNS study on mobile phones will be released in March.
The TNS Mobile Life study involved 500 respondents from Metro Manila from ages 16 to 60 years old. The fieldwork period was from November 2011 to January 2012. TNS said it focused on Metro Manila only since it is the center of mobile Internet activity in the country. It is part of a larger worldwide study that covered 43 markets and 34,000 respondents.