10 Fresh Lifestyle Business Trends in the Philippines (2020 Edition)


I’m very excited to share with you the upcoming Business Trends for Food, Travel, and Digital in Manila.

The last time I shared the 11 biggest business trends in the Philippines 2014, not only did most of it come true, a lot of businesses were empowered by leveraging and capitalizing on those trends. I was actually hesitant to share my insights the years that followed because other people used them without credit to OAP. They even used photos of my kids and my words verbatim.

This 2018, I’ve decided to put all of that behind me. I want to focus my efforts on repaying all the people who helped me–the entrepreneurs who mentored me and all the coaches who empowered me to break through–by paying it forward.

I’m also launching my 1-on-1 Coaching Program to help fellow entrepreneurs, digital mavens, and social enterprises be successful in Philippines 2020!

Without further ado, here are the 10 Fresh Lifestyle Business Trends in the Philippines (2020 Edition)

1. Video First!

The last couple of years were characterized by the Mobile First strategy, the dominance of Social Media like Facebook and Micro Blogging platforms like Instagram.

People have been talking about video for years also, but this 2018 and beyond you need to have a Video First communication strategy for three key reasons:

— With all the fake news around, video cannot lie because you communicate with non-verbal cues and people will pick up if you are not sincere.

— The Gen Z generation (born 2000 up), who grew up with YouTube for their content or having an App for anything, are now starting to dominate the lifestyle scene, overtaking the Millennials.

— With zero organic reach environment for Facebook and Instagram, it is more strategic in the long term to talk to your audience directly via video.

How to capitalize on this trend?

It may be hard but you need to start to vlog. Our friend Mark Weins convinced us to start vlogging back in 2015, but it’s only now that we’ve been releasing vlogs consistently on our YouTube channel @ourawesomeplanet.

We started to tell our food and travel stories through online video in 2015 and we are seeing more engagement for our video content in our Facebook and other social media platforms.

Think about how you can master the art of the 15s IG stories. How can you share your message in 15s or a series of 15s videos?


2. The Coming of Age of Zentennials

We learned a lot from the first event we organized in Manila focusing on Generation Z.

Zentennials or Gen Z refers to the generation of children born at the turn of the century. They represent 30% of the population and are quickly becoming the dominant changemakers in the digital age.

Our friend Jo Mag of Potato Corner revealed that it’s the Generation Z kids that are the secret behind the growing success of their business.

If you haven’t read it, here’s the summary: The Age of Zentennials: How to Raise Gen Z?

How to capitalize on this trend?

I bet that you don’t have a Gen Z strategy like most successful businesses do. Now is the time to create one.

Most companies are still struggling with how to engage Millennials, who only rely on the recommendations of their peers and are not loyal to any branded products.

Gen Z will be a dominant force in 2020 and they will vote the next president in 2022. Focusing on this segment is the best strategy because they’re like Hyper-Millennials but with the savviness of Gen X.


3. MICHELIN Stars in Manila finally?

Do you feel that the restaurant scene in Manila is a foodie bore?

There are still a lot of restaurants that open but also close fast (within 6 months) if they don’t work. Did you notice how most food parks are struggling now? I’m actually glad that this hipster trend is finally over.

We expect Michelin to be in Manila by 2020.

Michelin is rapidly expanding in Asia and they are present in most foodie destinations already with their recent launch in Bangkok. They usually partner with the Tourism Boards so that there is no inherent conflicts of interest with restaurants and chefs. Also, I think this will be the last year of Madrid Fusion in Manila, so the tourism board can allocate budget for the Michelin endeavor.

Now is the time that chefs are repositioning themselves (like Gallery Vask). Foreign Chefs from Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Japan are even flying in to establish a Manila base to prepare for the eventual Michelin Guide and awarding of those coveted Stars.

How to capitalize on this trend?

Create a restaurant concept that is uniquely Philippines, focus on awesome service, and offer value for money.

The restaurant does not need to be avant-garde, but it needs to have a delicious story.

If you are a Filipino Chef based abroad, now is the best time to come home to Manila.


4. ALIBABA vs. AMAZON (vs. SM) in Manila!

It’s so exciting that we are about to see Alibaba, the e-Commerce behemoth from China, go head to head with Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the US, right here in Manila. Just imagine, you can buy any of the products from the US or China at the most competitive pricing.

As our internet penetration hits 58%, we are seeing the start of the e-commerce boom in Manila, and mega-retail stores are scared.

Our economy is continuing to grow, we are one of two countries in the world with a young population with an average age of 24, and we are sick and tired of traffic.

SM has the biggest motivation to play in the e-commerce space and they partnered with 2Go to provide delivery service so that you can buy any products from the mall and have it delivered to your home.

How to capitalize on this trend?

Start your own e-commerce store! This is the time when the market will be mature enough to buy online and you don’t have to build the market for it.

Remember, people buy online for three things: it’s only available online (unique), it’s way cheaper to buy it online (lowest price), or it’s convenient for me to buy it online (easiest).


5. If it’s not Made by God, it’s probably Made in China

A wise Chinese once said, there are only two things in this world–Made by God (the natural wonders), and Made by China (all man-made products).

Doing business with China is a big trend and I’ve never imagined it to happen this fast because of our big brother friendship with the Chinese government.

We recently finished a project with Ctrip–the biggest Online Travel Agency in China (even bigger than Agoda and Booking combined). We created restaurant reviews for Manila restaurants in Chinese.

All our contracts are in Chinese, although they can communicate in English through email. They can only pay in Yuan that they can bring outside of China. And they work fast.

How to capitalize on this trend?

Learning to read and write Chinese Mandarin is the best way to leverage this trend.

Build your Social Media channels on WeChat, QQ, Baidu, and Weibo.

Do this fast, before the 3rd Chinese Telecom becomes operational in Manila.


6. Content is a Commoditized King, Coaching is in!

Yes, we are overloaded with information. It’s estimated that there are 2 billion pieces of content generated on social media, blogs, and video hosting sites each day. You can find any information, good or bad, about any subject and meet any content needs online.

We are forever newbies because of new technologies coming in, new ways to do things, and paradigm shifts in the way we do business.

Even for me, I started blogging in 2005 and quit my day job in 2008. This is my 10th year professionally blogging here in Manila, yet I’m overwhelmed with how to engage in new platforms like Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube. I needed coaching to help me learn from the best practices quickly, and have a tailor-fit solution for my context and situation.

Today, I will start paying my learnings forward and open a 1-on-1 online coaching program to those who need help with their food, travel, and online businesses. You can schedule an initial 1-hour coaching session with me for free. With this, I hope to help you future-proof your business and support you in your new endeavors.

You can schedule a 1-on-1 online appointment with me here. https://calendly.com/antondiaz/coaching/

How to capitalize on this trend?

Start supporting other people and coach them to be successful in the domain that you have expertise in. Learn coaching skills so that you can help more people.

I’m now a certified Virtual Coach after successfully passing the Virtual Coach program of Eben Pagan. This equipped me with the right mindset and tools to support people to go through their transition and transformations.

Don’t be afraid to seek out coaches to fast track your learning development, or have a third person opinion or support on your project.


7. Filipinos as the Dominant Lifestyle Consumer Segment

I believe that the Filipinos will rule the internet and be a dominant consumer segment in the food and travel space in 10 years time.

The world is aging with countries like Japan, Singapore, the US, and in Europe with an average age of 45 and up. Most couples in developed countries don’t want to have kids anymore, which is sad and detrimental to their economy in the long term.

Understanding and investing in the Filipino consumer starts now. Companies abroad cannot ignore the Filipino demographic anymore and in fact, most of them are opening companies in Manila.

We are considered a minority today, but the Filipino as a consumer brand will be influential as we continue to be the social media capital of the world, emerge as a food capital in Asia, and be a dominant segment in the travel industry.

How to capitalize on this trend?

If you are a Filipino Balikbayan or a Fil-Am from the US, now is the best time to come back to Manila and be part of this awesome journey. Open a new business or create a startup to leverage on better technologies and the dismantling of the monopolies or duopolies.

Discover your Filipino roots and heritage, rekindle your connection with your Filipino friends and family. Network and build a stronger relationship with Filipino influencers in the lifestyle space. Become a Filipino by applying for your dual citizenship.


8. Restaurant 4.0…Are you ready?

“RESTAURANT 4.0: NEW ERA IN RESTAURANTS” by Diego Coquilat (Spain) was one of the most insightful talks during the Madrid Fusion 2018 Congress.

(Related Blog Post: 2018 Restaurant Trends, Food Discoveries, and Insights from @MadridFusion)

I like how he painted the picture of the new era of restaurants with crisp and clear concepts and memorable tag lines that both restaurateurs and the dining public would agree on:

1). Restaurants do not have a wooden door but a digital door where the customer experience starts from booking a reservation, moves to the actual dining experience, and ends past the social chatter after.

2). Diners eat with a fork, spoon, and a mobile phone.

3). In the new era, the best tip is not cash, but digital tips based on reviews, mentions, and sharing online.

4). Delivery is an extension of the restaurant experience, with drivers as mobile waiters.

5). Focus on your restaurant’s Gastronomic DNA online based on what people talk about, review, and rave about your restaurant.


How to capitalize on this trend?

Embrace the digital dining consumers and create experiences for them to rave about online, not only limited to the 4 walls of the restaurant.

Create a digital persona for your restaurant that is reflected on the website, social media, and YouTube channel.

Make sure to reciprocate with a digital thank you for those giving you digital tips and positive contributions to your gastronomic DNA.


9. The Sustainable Me

Are you sustainable in terms of your food and travel choices? The challenge of sustainability begins with ourselves.

Forecasts show that there won’t be enough beef, chicken, and fish to feed the growing population of the planet. Most of our natural resources are being wasted and all tourist spots are being abused.

The documentary “A Plastic Ocean” on Netflix is a big eye-opener on how plastic waste destroys our oceans, the sea creatures, and our environment.

It may seem that the sustainability issue isn’t urgent, but in fact, it’s exponentially building up to be irreversible at some point.

It’s a massive problem that we need to address now.

How to capitalize on this trend?

How can you build products or solutions that empower a person to be a “Sustainable Me”?

When you travel, always look for homestays or boutique hotels owned by locals, support the local restaurants, and buy local products.

How can we make our awesome islands more sustainable with the influx of tourists and protect them from greedy businesses?

Can you eliminate the use of plastics in your life?

Start with a “Sustainable Me” attitude and empower your customers, clients, and audience to be sustainable by your example.


10. Your Social Startup

It’s not enough that you earn money with your business. You have to ask yourself, “is my business helping and improving the lives of poor people”?

Your business needs to be more inclusive and should uplift the community that you support. Every business should be a Social Enterprise to be successful in 2020 and beyond.

Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, who is at the forefront of building Social Enterprises, provided valuable insights on their recently held Social Business Summit 2018: Insights and Learnings Recap.

How to capitalize on this trend?

Leverage on the skills of building an Internet Startup and design your Social Enterprise to be an inclusive business supporting a community.

Be part of the growing social entrepreneurs at Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm.

Invest on training yourself on how to build your Social Startup.


Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this! Hope you can share with your family and friends to help them in their lifestyle businesses in 2020 and beyond.

Feel free to use the ideas I’ve shared here and hopefully you can credit the source or link back to this article.

Related Blog Post: 11 BIGGEST BUSINESS TRENDS in the Philippines 2014! (*Must Read for Every Filipino Entrepreneur)


Live an Awesome Life,

AntonP.S. These fresh lifestyle trends are brought to you by our favorite San Miguel Super Dry.

San Miguel Super Dry is made with the choicest aroma hops brewed longer to leave a crisp, dry finish.

San Miguel Super Dry is brewed locally, which guarantees freshness in every bottle and glass you buy. With 6 plants nationwide and an efficient distribution system across the country, you will never find a bottle that isn’t fresh.

Super Dry’s smooth, clean crisp taste is the most satisfying reward at the end of the day.

6 thoughts on “10 Fresh Lifestyle Business Trends in the Philippines (2020 Edition)

  1. Thank you, Anton, for sharing your thoughts! Looking forward to meeting you to synergize and realize more dreams in Awesome Philippines.

  2. What a great way to tell the netizens and the business owners of how fast the business trends had been changing! It also allows me to see the transitions we need to make for us to reach out to our clients/customers. And I also hope that this article would allow young entrepreneurs to think of starting a business in the Philippines.

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