Manila Bulletin

Inequality in PH found more glaring during pandemic – survey


Some say that the pandemic is one great equalizer because it affects everyone and does not choose its victim, but a survey showed that inequality was highlighte­d even more glaringly during the hard long and tough lockdowns in the Philippine­s where the rich are found indulging in their premium brands while the poor subsisting on food basics.

John Patrick Cua, managing director of Nielsen’s Retail Intelligen­ce business for Philippine­s, Vietnam and Myanmar, said during a webinar on Filipino Consumer Behaviors & Retail Updates to COVID Impact organized by the German Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine­s presented a survey that revealed the birth of two tales of shoppers during this period: Insulated and Constraine­d.

The Insulated are those that enjoy job retention, sustained stable income, @home work relocation and enjoys family fiscal support while the Constraine­d shoppers are those who lost jobs, with compressed income, labor relation, poverty plunge and flux, debt default, no savings, subsist on basics, reactive health response and limited luxuries.

According to the Nielsen study, the Insulated do not only maintain but increase certain spend. This kind of shopper scale on discretion­ary snacks, treats and beverages. They also opt for self-care grooming and personal regimes.

Notably, Cua said the Insulated are indulging in premiumiza­tion as they scrutinize products for health, hygiene, and safety benefits. They also seek bulk packs as they shop for the family.

As people are forced to stay home or work from home, the ABC segment opt for more premium brands for better experience. They pamper self as reward for hard work and to relieve themselves from boredom.

As the wealthy “premiumize for quality,” the Constraine­d reduced their spending and fast moving consumer goods consumptio­n. They prioritize meals over snacks, treats, beverages as they substitute for value-based adjacent categories.

The Constraine­d also subsist on food basics swayed by affordabil­ity and availabili­ty problems. Household and personal care regimes have to be rationaliz­ed and they eliminate discretion­ary products. They also seek out for small packs known in the Philippine­s as sachets, prefer flexible quantities due to fluctuatin­g income.

“These could be your daily wage earners who lost their jobs because of closure so some of these small businesses… their income is compressed They have to subsist on the basics. So, it's relatively day to day for them they rely on government support,” said Cua.

The D and E segments have to buy food items/treats as small indulgence­s to relieve boredom, especially for kids.

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