Across the region, people are using their mobile devices to improve relationships, get ahead in their work, learn skills which open new income opportunities and live more sustainably. They are also taking steps to safeguard themselves and vulnerable family members from online risks and harms.
These five drivers emerged from Telenor Asia’s Digital Lives Decoded study, which is now in its second year. The study surveyed over 8,000 mobile internet users across Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – including 1,010 from the Philippines – and set out to understand how mobile use is helping people across Asia lead better digital lives, especially when it comes to areas such as relationships, work and income opportunities, skills development, and online safety.
A stand-out finding this year from the Philippines was that amidst a challenging economy and high inflationary environment, mobiles are being widely used as a tool to manage rising costs of living. People are turning to their mobile devices to find the best deals (75%) and compare prices (74%) or accessing the numerous financial management and budgeting tools, calculators, or apps that can help manage their finances during difficult times.
Petter-Børre Furberg, EVP and Head of Telenor Asia said: “Our first study came at a time when the world was emerging from the global pandemic and the pace of digital adoption accelerated. This year’s findings build on those trends as mobile usage continues to gain momentum. In 2023, we see a shift where mobile use has the greatest impact on people’s lives, with work becoming the primary driver for increasing usage, and a majority using their devices to pick up new skills.”
“As mobile technology becomes increasingly central to our lives, so does the need for all stakeholders to continue to understand the people and parts of the ecosystem most at risk. We must keep working with stakeholders to create a safer online environment which allows all generations to take advantage of the immense potential offered by mobile access.”
- Building Healthy Social Connections Online
As we move further away from the pandemic, noticeable trends are becoming entrenched in how people in the Philippines use their devices. Most people (80%) continue to feel that the mobile has improved or significantly improved their relationship with family members.
4 in 5 respondents from the Philippines indicated they have a good balance when it comes to their relationships with their mobile devices. Only 4% say their mobile use causes them to feel anxious.
- Unlocking New Opportunities at Work
77% of respondents from the Philippines believe mobile use has upped their productivity at work over the last five years, and 90% feel it has improved or significantly improved work quality and performance. Almost three-quarters of respondents from the Philippines believed that the mobile would help them build an additional income stream (71%), while almost half (45%) believed it would help them get ahead at work, underpinning the enormous potential of mobile connectivity.
Respondents from the Philippines also anticipate the adoption of new technologies to accelerate in the workplace, with 82% indicating their organisation is supportive of using generative AI for work. Over half (52%) expect the use of generative AI to increase in the next 6 months.
- A Safer Online Experience
In an age of growing mobile use, majority (97%) of the respondents from the Philippines share concerns on privacy and security. 55% of respondents even stated that privacy and security are hindering the full utility of mobile devices in the course of their work.
These concerns were most prevalent for the elderly and children. Almost 9 in 10 respondents (89%) highlight concerns over the online safety of elderly family members. Concerns over children were even higher, at 95%. People in the Philippines name their top concerns as being around fake news (76%), identity theft (76%) and data theft (74%).
- Tapping into Learning and Personal Growth
Maintaining a recurrent theme from the 2022 Digital Lives Decoded Study, mobile use facilitates upskilling opportunities and creates new income streams. 91% of respondents in the Philippines said they had used their mobile to learn a new skill in the last 12 months.
Selling on e-commerce platforms (56%), leveraging Gen AI (52%) and social media management (47%) emerged as the most desirable skills to learn via mobile device amongst respondents in the Philippines. Providing freelance or consultancy services emerged as the top income stream that mobile devices have created for respondents in the Philippines, further buttressing the nation’s status as a business process outsourcing (BPO) hub.
- Reducing Our Impact on the Planet
76% of Philippines respondents felt that their mobile use helps them live more sustainably by reducing their paper usage, affording them access to education and information, and being more informed about daily life choices, such as information about transportation options.