In 2019 when Philippines emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, many opined that it might emerge as the next tiger economy. But with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, Philippines’ economic growth dwindled. It’s 2022 and the time of unexpected disruptions is almost over. In the Philippines, some of these changes have stuck around while others have evolved into new trends. This year, a new hope has risen as household income across the country has improved, giving Filipinos a chance to spend more.

Unlike other countries where brand switchers were rising, the Philippines was an exception. In a recent interview with the Inquirer, NielsenIQ managing director for Myanmar, Vietnam, and the Philippines, Patrick Cua said that “Filipinos largely stuck to their original brand choices even during the pandemic. They were generally watchful of their daily spending but did not rapidly switch to a cheaper challenger brand.” Thus, as the Covid-19 waves drift away, the Philippines has become an encouraging landscape for brands looking to build a strong and reliable loyal customer base.

3 Consumer Trends in the Philippines pivoting towards customer loyalty

1) Seeking vouchers: In a recent search by Google in the Philippines, it was found that there is a 47% increase in searches for ‘voucher code’ reflecting the rising usage of online marketplaces and promotional offers on those platforms. While this was encouraged by some sale promotions offered by brands allowing consumers to break free from their pandemic hesitations and bring them back to the stores.

2) Leveraging omnichannel: While digital channels were facing a slow-paced growth in the Philippines, the pandemic pushed for a more omnichannel marketplace, where consumers can choose their mode of transaction or interaction with a brand depending on where they are. Some consumers are hungry for an in-store experience, and others may visit stores only to get the touch and feel of a product before buying it online. Overall, Filipinos find themselves comfortable in a blended shopping experience combining both digital and physical aspects.

3) The internet boom: In 2021, the Philippines topped the world for average time spent on social media. According to the annual report released by We Are Social and Hootsuite, it was found that Filipinos spend an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes each day on social media. Making an interesting observation about internet usage in the country, Ray Alimurung (CEO of Lazada Philippines) said in an interview with Mckinsey: “I have noticed that a lot of Filipinos’ first interaction with the internet is through the use of a mobile app. The app and, in turn, the phone have become gateways to the internet for the Philippines, and the implications of this are astounding. This has resulted in the equipment of every citizen with a “supercomputer” more powerful than what was used to land Apollo 11 on the moon.” Thus, internet usage through mobile is becoming widely prevalent among Filipino consumers.

Also, after relaxing a three-decade-old foreign investment rule in March 2022, the retail landscape can definitely expect more global brands to enter this geography, triggering a battle for more consumer attention. In this scenario, the undoubted winners would emerge based on their scrupulously planned robust loyalty strategy.

Top 5 Philippines’ loyalty programs conquering the landscape today

1) 7 Eleven’s Cliqq

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7-Eleven has 1300 stores across the Philippines with a 60% market share in the 24-hour convenience store space. Through its unique app-based loyalty program called Cliqq Rewards, customers can earn points by presenting their loyalty barcode during a purchase at a 7-Eleven store. The barcode is scanned at the point of sale and customers can get instant access to their rewards. For every PHP50 transaction, customers get 1 point. The accumulated points can be used to purchase prizes from the rewards catalogue. The app is also integrated with the Cliqq Wallet which customers can use to pay.

2) SM Retail’s SM Advantage Card

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With a massive portfolio of department stores, supermarkets and specialty stores, SM Retail has cleverly interlinked its offerings with a single card – the SM Advantage Card. This is one of the country’s biggest rewards programs that offer points, discounts and freebies for every purchase at any SM store including The SM Store, SM Supermarket, Savemore, Waltermart, Alfamart, Ace Hardware, Toy Kingdom, Our Home and many more. The SM Advantage Card gives customers access to several third-party rewards and provides free home delivery.

3) Petron’s Value Card

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One of the Philippines’ leading fuel stations, Petron has been offering a loyalty card for several years. Last year, the fuel retailer collaborated with Capillary Technologies to come up with an app-based digitized loyalty program to delight customers for every transaction. Users can download the Petron Value Card app, create a loyalty profile, track transactions, rewards and points and get access to tools like the ‘Station Finder’ and ‘Fuel Mileage calculator’. Users also get special access to personalized offers, benefits and can even redeem their points to buy flight tickets with 3 major airlines – Philippines Airlines, AirAsia and Cebu Pacific.

Capillary’s agile platform also enabled Petron to significantly reduce response times and integrate with other partner ecosystems. Talk to our experts to find out how Capillary can help you achieve robust ROI-driven loyalty programs.

4) Gokongwei Group’s Go Rewards

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The Gokongwei Group is one of the largest and most diversified Filipino conglomerates that is spread across several verticals including telecommunications, petrochemicals, cement and air transportation. While its individual brands like Cebu Pacific Airlines and Robinsons supermarket had popular rewards programs, the conglomerate recently underwent a wave of digital transformation where they relaunched a multi-brand group loyalty program called Go Rewards. With a Go Rewards card can earn loyalty points from various transactions including refueling at Caltex forecourts, shopping at Robinsons Supermarket, and booking flights with Cebu Pacific, among others. Overall, through the swipe of a single card, customers can get access to an expanded rewarding experience thanks to the revamped loyalty strategy.

5) The Bistro Group’s BFF card

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The Bistro Group is a leader in casual dining restaurants offering international cuisines such as TGI Fridays, Hard Rock Café, Pollo Loco, Italianni’s, Texas Roadhouse, Watami and so on. The company’s BFF loyalty card enables customers to enjoy perks across 80 Bistro restaurants, online booking, complimentary beverages and special delivery options. Customers can display the digital card via the Bistro app instead of the physical card to avail a 30% discount on Mondays and a 20% discount on all other days.

Philippines brands choosing a value-driven brand strategy

Value, convenience and speed are the main drivers of brand loyalty in the Philippines. While customers are open to paying more for the luxury of convenience, they also want to feel understood by brands. Therefore, loyalty is more than just offering rewards and offers; it is a chance for brands to inch closer to their customers through empathy and emotions.

Card-based loyalty has become the norm in the Philippines’ customer retention strategy so far. As a next step, some of these brands have digitized these cards to make the loyalty benefits more accessible for customers. If you are looking to launch a seamless loyalty program in the Philippines market, book a demo to know how we shaped some of the brands’ business strategies in this region.

Keerthana Tiwari
Keerthana is a business journalist and is adept at catching market and retail trends. She enjoys analyzing facts and figures and often shares those insights through her writing. Before becoming a writer, Keerthana also had a stint in Biotechnology research.