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October 27, 2014

(Manila, Philippines, October 24, 2014) — Christmas celebrations in the Philippines are no doubt the longest in the world, marked by lavish light displays, splendid street decorations, and delightful Christmas carols. Recent research by Google reveals that the country’s longer-than-usual festive season is also mirrored in the extended Christmas shopping habits of Filipinos beginning with an online search of possible Christmas presents.

According to Google’s study “How Filipinos Shop During The Christmas Season,” 4% of shoppers start holiday shopping early—six months early in fact—with an online research of Christmas items. The bulk of Filipinos (36%) start much later, in November, and a sizable tardy minority (19%) leave it to the very last minute in December.

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When it comes to actual shopping, 4% start at the onset of -ber months, building up to 44% by the first two weeks of December. The day before Christmas still finds 4% of shoppers scouting for gifts. An online survey of 160 respondents formed the data for this study.

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There’s reason for festive cheer for shop owners: most sales still happen in store but online is an important channel for research, with 72% of Filipinos surveyed reporting they got their inspiration online, versus 69% who said window shopping was the main source of gift ideas.

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What goes into Pinoys’ Christmas gift list

The research ranks clothing and accessories as the most popular gift choice among Filipinos, followed by toys and food/recipes/beverages tied at the second spot. The trend leans toward practicalitythe top gift options can be less costly compared to gadgets but have more utility compared to flowers and greeting cards.

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These categories reveal a fascinating insight into the mindset of the Filipino shopper: rather than snazzy gifts with “wow factor” or personalization, the most important factors for local shoppers are value for money (84%), price (80%), and quality (78%).

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How smart businesses should respond

With the Internet being “open all hours” 24/7/365, customers can go online and hunt for holiday bargains whenever they feel like it. Savvy businesses should follow this trend and Google suggests they organize their marketing campaigns with these factors in mind:

  • Awareness (October to December): Be present for early gift buyers and raise others’ awareness for your brand/product.
  • Consideration (November to December): Sustain awareness and re-engage with potential buyers.
  • Last minute buys (December): Capitalize on customers’ buying intent and trigger last-minute buys.

“The holiday season is also the busiest time for shopping, hence a deeper consumer knowledge should give businesses the advantage of providing what their customers truly need and prioritize,” said Ryan Morales, Google Philippines Country Marketing Manager. It’s not too late to add a touch of sparkle to your holiday campaign but don’t wait too long, or the smart shoppers may go elsewhere.

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