Filipinos believe consumers are more powerful than voters — report

Prosumers are today’s leading influencers and market drivers, according to Red Havas. They are the first to try out new things and are the ones consulted by peers for recommendations when it comes to brands, ideas, philosophies, and beliefs. Image via Havas Ortega Group

Filipinos believe that voting with their wallet has more immediate impact than participating in elections, according to a report by Red Havas, the public relations arm of communications agency Havas Ortega.

“The immediacy of that influence is just faster as a consumer. In two seconds, you can influence a friend not to get a plastic straw for her drink, unlike with elections where you have to wait for months and years to see results,” said Gian S. dela Cruz said, Havas Ortega Group’s communications strategist, on consumer influence.

A majority (81%) of respondents said that that they wield more influence on society as consumers than as voters. The report also found that prosumers realize that brands and governments have to step up if a more sustainable future for the planet is to be realized. (“Prosumer” is a term coined by futurist Alvin Toffler for an individual who is both a provider/producer and consumer.)

Prosumers are today’s leading influencers and market drivers, according to Red Havas. They are the first to try out new things and are the ones consulted by peers for recommendations when it comes to brands, ideas, philosophies, and beliefs. What prosumers are doing today, mainstream consumers will likely be doing in the next 6 to 18 months. The study, conducted concurrently across 28 countries between February and March 2020, showed that 93% of Filipino prosumers think it is their responsibility to make a difference in the world.

“The questionnaire was developed globally but consulted locally. The study was fielded in such a way that it talks about attitudes rather than demographic filters,” said Mr. dela Cruz. “It is agnostic of demographic filters.”

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A STRONG STAND ON SUSTAINABILITY

Eco-activism in particular has gained traction especially among Gen Zs. Prosumers have strong opinions about sustainability and environmental responsibility, with air pollution (93.8%), water pollution (89.6%), and global warming (87.5%) among the top concerns cited. To face the challenges of hyper-consumption, prosumers try to reuse rather than repurchase, be self-sufficient, and consume local to lower the impact on the environment. The resurgence of thrift shops among local Instagram accounts is a manifestation of these trends.

Most are happy to consume sustainable, good-for-the-planet products.

Inasmuch as much can be done on the individual level, the study’s respondents also acknowledged the role of businesses and governments to pull the levers of change. Prosumers feel that the government should exercise its responsibility to lead sustainability movements, and should step in with measures to improve waste management (95.8%), and ban single-use plastic (87.5%) as well as unnecessary packaging (85.4%).

Brands are also expected to be responsible enough to enforce sustainability measures that are meaningful, transparent, and authentic. More than nine-tenths (92%) think sustainability has to be mandatory and not merely used as a publicity move.

In campaigning for change, Mr. dela Cruz advised: “Educate, not hate. Come from a space of education and not aggression.” — Patricia B. Mirasol

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