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Research shows higher quality of life among families with OFWs

Synergy research shows families with OFW relatives have more leisure activities and own more gadgets compared to those without

(Manila, Philippines, March 17, 2011) – Filipino families with overseas Filipino worker (OFW) relatives are observed to have more leisure activities and own more gadgets compared to those without, according to a market research conducted by market research consulting firm Synergy Business Consultancy. OFW families are more inclined to eat out, socialize, travel, go to the mall, purchase gadgets, and do recreational activities, as well as allot budget for charitable acts.

“Because they have higher purchase capacity, more of those with OFW families engage in certain leisure activities compared with those without. For example, 43% of respondents with OFW relatives go malling while only 32% of respondents without OFW relative had this as one of their leisure activities. The only similar behavior observed is media consumption,” said Synergy managing director Germaine Reyes. The research noted that both groups like to watch TV, listen to the radio, and read newspapers.

OFW families are fond of eating out whether in fast foods or fine dining restaurants, comprising 54% and 19% of respondents, respectively. The malling activities engaged in by OFW families are shopping or window shopping (43%) and watching movies (31%). Social activities are also in the list, which include social drinking (29%), videoke (26%), going to parties or social gatherings (17%), bar hopping (8%), and going dancing in discos or clubs (5%).

Travelling is more common to OFW families (16%), as only 7% of respondents without OFW relatives noted this as one of their leisure activities. Moreover, recreational activities such as going to the gym, playing musical instruments, playing board games, going to the salon or spa, playing video games, or engaging in sports are popular with OFW families. OFW families also allot budget for charitable acts such as participating in the parish and community civic activities, as well as other religious activities.

Gadget ownership with OFW families is prevalent compared with those without, particularly with owning computers or laptops. Thirty-five percent of OFW families have a computer or laptop while only 11% of families without OFW relatives own this gadget at home. “There is a higher incidence of gadget ownership among OFW families, including mobile phones, computers, and digital cameras, among others. It may be that since computers are communication tools, they are used more readily by the families of OFWs to stay in touch. Thus, ownership of computer peripherals seem to be higher as well,” expounded Synergy managing director Germaine Reyes.

The survey involved 1,000 households in Metro Manila and the interviews were done from September to October 2010.

In Metro Manila, two in every five households have an OFW immediate household member or relative, which is represented by 929,000 households or 4.7 million household members. In terms of socio-economic profile, 54% or majority of OFW families interviewed belong to the D class. Meanwhile, only 9% of families with OFW relatives are in the ABC class, compared with 4% of families without an OFW immediate household member or relative. According to Reyes, this is a higher-than-usual representation of the ABC households of OFW families compared with those without, and may indicate that having OFW relatives can potentially improve their ability to go up the socio-economic ladder.

“This is because close to 6 in 10 families receive remittances from OFW family member or relatives and this proportion is much higher compared with class E, thus, possibly augmenting their income capacity and/or disposable income,” explained Reyes.

In Synergy’s survey, 64% of families in the ABC class receive remittances from their family members or relatives; 66% for lower C class; 56% for class D; and only 40% for class E.

Table 1 – Incidence of OFW vs. non-OFW household in Metro Manila

Whether or not have an OFW family member/relativeTotal
With OFW family member/relative41%
Without OFW family member/relative59%

Table 2 – Socio-Economic Class (SEC) Profile

 SECWith OFW immediate HH member or relativeWithout OFW immediate HH member or relative
ABC+9% >4%
Lower C25%22%
E12%< 22%

*Note: < or > statistically significant at 95% level

Table 3 – Whether or not receive remittances from OFW member/relative, by SEC

 Whether or not receive remittances from OFW family member/relativeSEC
Yes, receive remittances64%66%56%40%
No, don’t receive remittances36%34%44%60%

*Note: Figures in red font are statistically significant at 95% level, ie., those who receive remittances amongst ABC+, Lower C, D households are significantly higher vs. E households.

Table 4 – Incidence of Leisure Activities

With OFW immediate HH member or relativeWithout OFW immediate HH member or relative
Watching TV98%97%
Listening to the radio62%63%
Reading newspapers53%54%
Eat out in fast foods54% >44%
Cooking/baking52% >39%
Using Internet50% >29%
Malling, shopping/window shopping43% >32%
Go to friend’s house and chat with them38% >26%
Watching Cable/Satellite TV38% >24%
Drinking alcoholic beverages with others29% >24%
Watching movies31% >21%
Engaging in Sports27% >18%
Singing/Videoke26% >18%
Reading magazines26% >14%
Video games/computer/arcade games21% >12%
Eat out in fine dining restaurants19% >11%
Actively participate in community civic activities/parish/religious activities18% >10%
Going to parties/social gatherings17% >8%
Going out of town16% >7%
Going to salon or spa10% >4%
Going to bars/bar hopping8% >3%
Watching concerts/live bands7% >3%
Board games (chess/etc.)/puzzle8% >3%
Playing musical instruments6% >3%
Going to coffee shops6% >2%
Dancing/going to discos/clubbing5% >2%
Going to the gym/attending gym classes4% >2%

*Note: < or > statistically significant at 95% level

Table 5 – Gadgets Ownership

GADGETS OWNEDTotalWith OFW memberWithout OFW member
OWN (AT LEAST 1) GADGET87%96%81%
Computer (PC and/or laptop)21%35%11%
Digital Camera20%31%12%
Computer Peripheral/s19%32%9%
DVD drive9%16%4%
CD/DVD burner9%18%4%
Portable hard drive4%10%1%
PDA gadget4%8%2%

*Note: Figures in red font are statistically significant at 95% level.

About Synergy Business Consultancy
Synergy Business Consultancy is a full-service marketing research consulting company. The company is currently celebrating its 11th year in providing marketing-based, business solutions to a diverse industry, from fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) to service and business sectors. Synergy provides not just the ‘whats’, but also the ‘so whats’ and the ‘now whats’ of researches done. Synergy is also a member of ESOMAR and BPA/P.