The Philippines has always been heavily influenced by the West, specifically its former colonizer the USA. From TV shows to textbooks, a portion of Filipinos were fed with the English language and Western references as early as their formative years.
That said, is the Philippines the only country in Southeast Asia that’s this “white-washed”? And how much does the western media influence specifically Filipinos’ online purchasing behavior?
iPrice Group, Southeast Asia’s leading e-commerce aggregator, studied the impact of Hollywood brand ambassadors and western media coverage in Southeast Asia. According to iPrice’s data, western pop culture skews the Philippines’ online purchasing interest.
Did Crocs Make a Comeback in the Philippines?
Crocs’ comeback has made a huge noise in the west as it revives its brand via celebrity influencers and collaborations. In the Philippines, iPrice saw that the Google searches for the brand would spike every time Crocs would engage in a collaboration.
This was first seen in July 2020, when Google searches saw a 121% increase compared to the first month of the year. This surge occurred when Crocs announced its collaboration with KFC. That was just the beginning of the upward trajectory of its Google searches.
In September 2020, Crocs had a collaboration with rapper-songwriter Bad Bunny. In the succeeding month, Crocs had another with Justin Bieber. By then, the Filipinos’ Google searches skyrocketed by 185% compared to the beginning of the year.
Filipinos’ Google searches for the love-it-or-hate-it shoe brand reached its peak in December 2020, with over 210,000 searches. This 278% surge occurred during Priyanka Chopra’s endorsement and Post Malone’s collaboration.
The data may indicate that these western influences have a hold on Filipinos’ search interests. In Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia, however, the Google search volumes aren’t as huge. For instance, searches reached only over 37,000 in Indonesia, a country that has more than 3x the Philippines’ Google population.
The Green Hair Fad
Billie Eilish has always been known for her unique look. In 2019, she started dyeing her roots green. In September 2019, she appeared on the cover of Elle magazine with her green roots and posted it on Instagram. Google searches on green hair dye increased by 72% if you compare searches the month before and after she appeared on Elle’s cover.
Eilish appeared on the Oscars and the cover of Vogue magazine right before her scheduled tour in March 2020 (which was later on cancelled due to the virus). By then, searches on green hair dye have increased by 141% compared to the beginning of 2020.
Every time the Grammy-winning pop star released content, the searches for green hair dye increased. In May 2020, she released a short film and endorsed it on Instagram. Just two months later, My Future’s music video succeeded. By then, Google searches for green hair dye reached its peak as it surged more than 6x compared to the beginning of the year. And as expected, there was another spike as Therefore I Am’s music video came out in November 2020.
Just like Crocs, other Southeast Asian countries’ search volumes on green hair dye did not reach as high as the Philippines’.
Do Filipinos Love Kanye as Much as Kanye Loves Himself?
Every time Kanye West announced any exciting reveals, there were remarkable spikes in the Philippines’ Google searches. The most notable was seen a month after Kanye mentioned his 2024 US Presidential run, when he announced the release of Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Yeezreel in December 2020. These events sent searches soaring by 132% more compared to the beginning of the year.
In July 2020, the expensive sneaker brand’s searches also increased after Kanye teamed up with Gap. In December 2020, it reached a 37% increase compared to the beginning of the year as Kanye announced its 2020 Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Bred release.
The Growing Trend of Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency has been making all the buzz. Numerous business and entertainment influencers have been making public statements about it.
Kanye West talked about cryptocurrency in Joe Rogan’s podcast in October 2020. In December 2020, Elon Musk tweeted about Dogecoin. Thus, the searches for cryptocurrency started to increase by 53% since Kanye’s podcast episode.
In February 2021, Jack Dorsey, Jay Z, and Snoop Dogg started to put on a good word. Tesla announced its $1.5 billion purchase of bitcoin in the same month. At the end of March 2021, Snoop Dogg announced the release of his first NFT collection. Shortly after in April 2021, Paris Hilton talked about bitcoin and NFT as well. By then, the searches from cryptocurrency had reached an all-time high in at least 2 years, experiencing a 542% increase compared to the month Kanye talked about it in Joe Rogan’s podcast.
One may argue that cryptocurrency is just a hot market at the moment. After all, surges in search volume were also experienced in other Southeast Asian countries. But all these statements from western influencers may have helped in spreading this information as well, especially to the general public.
That said, it is no wonder that local brands like Penshoppe tapped Hollywood celebrities like Zayn Malik and Kendall Jenner. It seems that western pop culture impacts Filipinos’ online product interests, which can say much about their purchasing behavior.
- END OF REPORT –
The Google search volume was taken from Google Keyword Planner, from the period of May 2019 to April 2021. "Crocs," "Yeezy," "cryptocurrency," and "green hair dye" were the keywords used to obtain the search volume. Events from Western influencers were taken from external sources.
About iPrice Group
iPrice Group is Southeast Asia’s leading online shopping companion. With a mission to bring a greater level of transparency, convenience and trust to the e-commerce market across Southeast Asia in order to help people save money, the company today operates in seven countries across Southeast Asia namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Currently, iPrice compares and catalogs 6+ billion e-commerce offers from more than 2 million sellers, attracting more than 35 million monthly visits across the region. iPrice currently operates under its own brand iPrice and through various partnerships with leading apps, such as SmartPay (Vietnam), Boost (Malaysia), GoRewards (Philippines), Home Credit (Indonesia) ViSense (Singapore), Robinsons rewards (Philippines) & Boost (Malaysia).