Study: 6 out of 10 Filipinos actively engage in ‘woke’ culture to amplify social issues

How 'woke' and 'cancel' cultures are shaping Filipino consumers and citizens.

A new study reveals that Filipinos actively participate in online discussions about social issues and hold individuals and organizations accountable for their actions or statements.

The study, conducted by data analytics firm Agile Data Solutions, surveyed 600 Filipino participants aged 18 and above using the Hustle PH app in May 2023. It found that 64% of Filipinos engage in ‘woke’ discussions primarily “to ignite conversations and awareness about social issues,” and 43% engage in ‘cancel’ culture contents “to hold individuals or organizations accountable for their actions or statements.”

The study also showed that these kinds of content increased the political engagement of four out of 10 Filipinos, who reported being more involved in activism, voting in elections, and campaigning for causes.

Among the most critical issues to discuss online, 30% of the respondents identified women’s empowerment, 26% pointed to live-in relationships, and 24% highlighted LGBTQIA+ rights.

“The study reveals that even though most Filipinos may be confused by current ‘woke jargon’, they actively take a progressive stand on women empowerment, LGBTQ rights and environmental protection,” said Jason Gaguan, founder of Agile Data Solutions.

“The broad range of topics also suggests a community that values diverse perspectives and is actively seeking to broaden its understanding of various lifestyle choices,” he added.

The influence of these cultures is also evident in the respondents’ buying patterns as consumers increasingly prioritize aligning brands’ values with their own. More than half of Filipinos — 57% — said ‘woke’ culture made them “put more emphasis on how goods and services are being marketed or promoted,” and 55% said the same due to being exposed to ‘cancel’ culture.

“Consumers are increasingly becoming conscious of a brand’s values and integrity, and they are willing to make purchasing decisions based on these factors,” Gaguan said.

Additionally, 51% of those surveyed said ‘woke’ content made them “more focused on who’s selling the goods and services rather than the actual products. The same goes for 52% of the respondents.

The survey also reveals 44% are “more likely to support brands that share my values or promote social justice.” In comparison, 30% reported avoiding purchasing from companies that had been “canceled” due to offensive or harmful behavior.

In response to these findings, Gaguan said, “Businesses and organizations should recognize these changing societal norms to better align their marketing efforts to stay relevant and connected to their consumers.”

The poll finds that Facebook, the most popular social media platform in the Philippines, is also the choice of 81% of participants as a platform for these kinds of discussions. The remaining percentage is split evenly between those who prefer using the short-form video app TikTok and those who favor traditional in-person discussions.

While Facebook remains dominant in public conversation, TikTok has taken an emerging role in shaping public opinion, and the data highlights “the enduring value of face-to-face communication.”

“Whatever trends may come in social media, its overarching objective remains to promote social awareness and ensure accountability,” he added.

Agile Data Solutions, through its data-gathering platform, Hustle PH, remains dedicated to exploring and analyzing cultural trends to help businesses and individuals make informed decisions.

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