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Despite high inflation, Filipino SMBs most bullish amongst APAC counterparts

Teddy Cambosa - May 9, 2023

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Manila, Philippines – Small businesses in the Philippines are the most bullish compared to its counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region, with nearly nine of ten SMBs expected to grow this year due to technology investment. This is according to the latest data from professional accounting body CPA Australia.

According to the data, three quarters of Filipino small businesses grew in 2022, an increase of 10 percentage points from 2021. A robust economy contributed to 89% predicting growth this year. This optimism is reflected in plans of around 58% of local businesses to hire more staff this year.

A strong focus on maintaining customer relationships and using social media contributed to growth. Around 44% of businesses nominated customer loyalty as a positive factor. Meanwhile, over 90% used social media for business purposes, including promoting to potential customers (65%) and selling products or services (59%).

The data also remarked that Filipino small businesses’ ability to identify the right technologies to invest in and profit from further strengthened their competitiveness. Seven-in-10 of businesses said their investments last year had improved profitability, strongly surpassing the survey average of 55%.

Nonetheless, increasing costs and difficulties accessing external funds may hamper financial returns and development plans. Four-in-10 businesses said increased costs were negatively affecting their businesses, the highest result in all surveyed markets. The cost of materials (42%) ranked as the cost most felt by local businesses, followed by fuel (38%) and utilities (36%).

Nicklaus Wee, regional manager for emerging markets, said, “Due to increasing domestic demand and a speedy recovery in the services sector, particularly in tourism, many Filipino small businesses expanded solidly. They continue to be one of the most dynamic in the Asia-Pacific region.”

He added, “The COVID pandemic has fundamentally changed consumer behaviour. The survey shows that Filipino small businesses are adopting a more customer-oriented approach, including increasing their interaction with potential customers. Using customer feedback allows them to swiftly identify the best options, including technological solutions to meet customers’ needs.”

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