Quantcast

Business Matters

Targeting the bottom of the pyramid

By

The increasing role of social enterprises and the focus on inclusive growth make it important to understand the consumer behavior of the lower-income households in the Philippines. The Metro Manila Mothers Survey conducted by the SEED Institute from Dec. 19, 2011, to Jan. 17, 2012, came out with very valuable information about consumer behavior among the C, D, and E income households. The findings provide significant guides to consumer companies targeting the “bottom of the pyramid” and social entrepreneurs developing products and services that are priority needs of the more than 80 percent of the population that belong to these income groups.

The research was conducted in three phases: (1) Census of mothers (Dec. 9 to 23, 2011) with 575 respondents from different parts of Metro Manila, the objective of which was to establish demographic tendencies; (2) Free tracking study (Jan. 7 to 10, 2012); and (3) Second tracking study (Jan. 14 to 17, 2012). Two tracking studies were conducted to accommodate questions common to both tracks and some questions unique to each study. Both tracking studies had a representative sample base of 600 from all barangays of Metro Manila. The specified respondent was the mother handling the family budget in each household. Socioeconomic distribution was roughly 25 percent class C, 50 percent class D, and 25 percent class E.

The diversity of consumer items reported by the respondent-mothers confirms the hypothesis that by sheer numbers, low-income households in the Philippines constitute a sufficiently large domestic market for all types of consumer goods that are designed to fit their respective cash flow positions. No wonder some of the largest businesses in the country cater to the mass market in such sectors as beverages; processed food products; fast food franchises; power, water and telecom utilities; and pharmaceutical and health products and services.

Some innovative business organizations are perfecting the educational models developed by such large private universities as the University of the East and the Far Eastern University in offering postsecondary-degree programs that enable the graduates to land a job at the least cost possible. An outstanding example is the Phinma Group that has acquired private universities in key regions outside of Metro Manila. In the area of health services, a group to watch is the Metro Pacific group that is purchasing hospitals in key cities both within and outside the National Capital Region.

Another valuable piece of information that resulted from the Metro Manila Mothers Survey is the answer to the question about the top three wishes each mother would like to direct to the government to help improve their standard of living. This is a perfect application of the social principle called subsidiarity. The households have done everything in their power and capacity to provide for their basic necessities through their own enterprise and hard work. Now, they want the government to supplement their own efforts in areas that go beyond their individual capacities. This is where the State is subsidiary to the primary responsibility of private individuals to provide for themselves.

Among the top wishes of the mothers are the provision of regular jobs, microcredit and microenterprise support, scholarship support for their children, socialized housing, subsidized prices for primary food items, free hospitalization, medicines and vitamins for their children, Cash Transfer Account, subsidized rates for electricity and water, free business seminars, and lower costs of gasoline and transport.

A smaller number of mothers mentioned the following wishes directed at the government: cheap mobile clinics with X-rays and CT scans for pregnant women; free food in schools for students; more rolling stores with cheaper rice, sugar, coffee, soap, and snack food items; inexpensive herbal medicines; more open parks and other recreational facilities for free; improved roads; and legalized “jueteng.”

What is very striking is that there was no mention in the wish list of having access to free condoms and other contraceptives. This is especially meaningful considering that the purchase of these items is part of the expenditures of a small percentage of these low-income households, and that all the respondents were mothers, who logically should be the ones most concerned about avoiding unwanted pregnancies. These social classes are obviously aware of the existence and uses of contraceptives. The fact that they do not include them in their “wish list” for the government is an indication that in their opinion, the very limited budget of the government is better spent on many more priority needs than on contraceptives.

Those interested in obtaining primary data from the Manila Mothers Survey of SEED Institute may e-mail joelcaballa@gmail.com.

Bernardo M. Villegas is senior vice president of the University of Asia and the Pacific. For comments, e-mail bernardo.villegas@uap.asia.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More from this Column:

Other Stories:

No related posts found!

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=44651

Tags: bernardo m. villegas , column , consumer behavior , social entrepreneurs , ‘bottom of the pyramid’



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • [VIDEO] No assurances on Janet Lim-Napoles’ bid to become state witness
  • South Sudan president fires long-time army leader
  • Grenade explodes outside MPD Station 1
  • 25 cops ordered relieved over links to drugs
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Guiao summoned by PBA for name-calling incident
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Marketplace