Smartphones were the most used devices among women last year based on a new survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) released on Friday.
The Women and ICT Development Index (WIDI) survey, which surveyed 26,719 households in the country, showed 84.9% of women and girls aged 15 years and over were mainly using their smartphones as information communication technology (ICT) devices last year.
Out of eight devices included in the survey, basic cellphones (33.4%) and portable computers (20%) followed as the commonly used devices by women.
The rest were: Smart TVs (17.9%), landline phones (10.1%), tablet computers (9.4%), desktop computers (7.8%), and gaming consoles (1.9%).
By region, Metro Manila had the most smartphone users with 95.8% of the 3,549 households in the region.
This was followed by Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) with 92.1% of the 4,148 households, and Central Luzon with 91.3% of 3,030 households.
Smart TVs came in second in the capital region with 25.8% users, followed by tablet computers with 23.5%.
Regardless of the area, both urban and rural residences used smartphones more than other devices last year with 90% and 78.8%, respectively.
The survey also included data on devices used by both employed and unemployed women.
Of the 38,911 women surveyed, 75.9% commonly used smartphones.
While both employed and unemployed women used smartphones (83.5% and 71.6%, respectively), more employed women used desktop computers with 18.6% of the total, compared with 4.7% of unemployed women.
In a Viber message, China Banking Corp. Chief Economist Domini S. Velasquez said that the result of the survey is “good news” since it indicates that Filipinos are using more electronic devices for various aspects of their lives.
“Initiatives such as sari-sari stores who use digitalization to search for cheapest sources of their products and MSMEs [micro, small, and medium enterprises] who improve transactions because of online payments, make a difference for both producers/retailers and consumers,” she said.
While improvements in internet coverage and speed also boosted digitalization, the Philippines remains behind compared with ASEAN peers, she added.
Moving forward, Ms. Velasquez does not expect a reversal of trend, instead growth in usage of ICT devices as the economy continues to shift in a digitalized set-up and online transactions, “especially transactions with the government, will reduce ‘shoe leather costs’ and be positive for the economy as a whole.”
“Of course, there are cyber security risks that come with a shift towards digitalization. The government/DICT should also remain vigilant against these to ensure seamless movement to a digital economy,” she added.
The WIDI survey is a household survey conducted by both the PSA and DICT focusing on the skills and potential of women and girls aged 15 years or over in the field of ICT. As the inaugural survey, this aimed to gather baseline data among women in terms of access, use, and skills in ICT for crafting of appropriate policies and programs to help women in the productive use of ICT, the statistics authority said. — Bernadette Therese M. Gadon