Filipino Consumers on Clothing

Hi readers! For this post, I will share with you the desires of Filipino consumers as far as clothing is concerned. I observed the clothes of people around and I wanted to know more about the reasons that affect their purchasing decisions. So I asked them and tried to look into things from their own perspective.

I conducted a survey among the members of the UP community and their friends and relatives. I think the UP community is diverse and can be a good sample for this research. I managed to get 55 respondents who are aged 17 to 54, either studying or working, and mostly currently living in Metro Manila but whose hometowns are in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Moreover, the following demographics can also be drawn from the survey.



StatusSome of the respondents have tried shopping online but all of them prefer buying directly from physical stores. Sam Christopher Lim, the Senior Vice President for Marketing and Strategy of Francorp Philippines, noted in his article, How Pinoy retail brands are competing with global brands, that “according to the Euromonitor International Report, though online retailing of clothes is getting to be popular, buyers still want to go to stores and experience fashion for themselves. Department stores or boutiques are still the destination if one wants clothes, sportswear, and footwear.”

Price, quality, fit, comfort, relevance, brand, design and style, and convenience and service are factors that consumers consider when buying clothes. I let the respondents rank these factors according to their preference and the following are the results:

Price Price

Quality Quality

Fit Fit

Comfort Comfort

Relevance Relevance

Brand Brand

Design and Style Design and Style

Convenience and Service Convenience and Service

I also asked the respondents other factors that they consider when buying clothes. Some of them answered that the versatility, functionality, or being multipurpose of a dress is also important—this is somehow part of the design and style. It is important for them for a piece of clothing to still look nice when mixed or matched with their other clothes. Some look for inspiration on fashion trends when buying clothes too. And others rely on other people’s opinion if a piece of clothing looks nice on them or base on their religion if a clothing would be modest for them.

Nevertheless, price was chosen by 37% of the respondents as their highest priority while fit and comfort were chosen as the highest priority of 32.7% and 25.5% of the respondents, respectively. Also, design and style was chosen by 23.64% of the respondents for the first priority and another 23.64% for the second priority. The quality got the second most number of votes for a rank with 34.55% of the respondents voting it as their second priority. On the other hand, relevance was voted highest for the seventh priority with 20% while brand and convenience and service landed on the least priority with 29.09% and 23.64%, respectively, ranking highest on the last spot.

As our Philippine economy rises, it is expected that the purchasing power of Filipinos will also rise. However, we have become smarter and price-conscious buyers. A Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions for the fourth quarter of 2014 shows that 62% of Philippine consumers spend less on new clothing while 35% of Filipinos spend on new clothing after putting spare cash into savings.

Furthermore, as stated in the online article, What Do Filipinos Spend their Money On?, a Consumer Financial Survey (CFS), conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and released last year, reported that a typical Filipino family with a 20,000-peso average monthly income spends 5% or 1,000 pesos on clothing—the category with the least number of percentage, tied with miscellaneous. Thus, for an average Filipino family of four and with 12,000 pesos of clothing allowance, each member can spend 3,000 pesos for clothing in a year.

I asked the respondents how much they usually spend for a piece of clothing, how often they buy new clothes in a year, and how much they usually spend for buying clothes in a year. The following are the results:

Piece of Clothing Expense

Yearly Rate in Buying Clothes

Yearly Expense in Buying Clothes

Majority or 29.1% of the respondents usually spend 400 to 600 pesos for a piece of clothing and majority or 49.1% of them buy new clothes three to five times a year.  From this, we can get the range 1,200 to 3,000 pesos (400 x 3 = 1,200; 600 x 5 = 3,000) which coincides with the majority of 21.8% of respondents who usually spend 2,000 to 3,000 pesos for buying clothes in a year. This also matches the inference I made based from the CFS report (i.e., each Filipino family member has 3,000 pesos clothing allowance yearly).

Moreover, a majority of 16.4% of respondents admitted that 70% of their clothes were bought because they need it while the remaining 30% was because they just want the clothes. 41.8% and 27.3% of the respondents wear medium and small-sized tops, respectively, while users of extra small and large-sized tops each amount to 10.9% of the sample. They were also asked the number of times they change clothes in a day and I found out that 65.5% of them change twice, 29.1% change once, and 5.5% change thrice. We can make an in depth research on how this can be related to the frequency of buying clothes of a Filipino consumer but this won’t be covered in the blog. We can also say something about how much time, effort, and patience a consumer invests in buying clothes based from the graph below.

Shopping Time

According to the respondents, their top eight favorite clothing brands are Bench (32.72%), Uniqlo (32.72%), H&M (30.90%), Penshoppe (29.09%), Forever 21 (27.27%), Cotton On (12.72%), Artwork (12.72%), and Giordano (10.91%). However, 25.45% of them aren’t brand conscious—they simply just don’t mind the brands, prefer unbranded clothes, or buy from ukay-ukay.

There are a lot of conclusions that we can draw from this simple experiment. The relationships among the other demographics and some factors that affect the purchasing decisions of Filipino consumers might be available on the second part of this blog. Stay tuned!

P.S.: On the continuation of this blog, I will also share the top five pieces of clothing that the respondents have the most as well as the top three pieces of clothing that reflect their personal style. I will also try to explain their choice of clothes as they shared with me their activities during a regular weekday and a regular weekend and try to relate them with each other.


80% of Filipino consumers curb spending in Q4 2014. (2015, January 26). Retrieved August 18, 2015, from

Lim, S. (2015, March 15). How Pinoy retail brands are competing with global brands. Retrieved August 18, 2015, from

What do Filipinos Spend Their Money On? (2014, June 11). Retrieved August 18, 2015, from


What the Dress!

By Prince & Sarah

We have been using clothing for as long as we can remember. It has been an integral part of our everyday life that sometimes makes us wonder what it is for and why people are wearing clothes based from different perspectives.

We conducted a short interview with Ms. Elena Marie Calamlam and asked her three relevant questions. She is a BS Civil Engineering sophomore student in UP Diliman, part-time model in several haute couture shops, and also the grand winner of the Ms. Santa Cruz 2015 pageant. Watch the interview below. 

To put an end to our curiosity, we researched comprehensively and came up with the list below of the different motivations for and functions of dress. We categorized the entries according to what we have learned in our CT 15 class and read from Eubank and Tortora’s A Survey of Historic Costume and supported them with a couple of references.

Furthermore, we included some examples that support the following motivations for and functions of dress as well as those that do not.

Motivations for Dress

This part answers the question, “why do people wear clothes?” Each one of us has his or her reasons in wearing clothes in general and using particular clothing. These reasons vary depending on the time period, place of origin, and other factors.

The following four motivations for dress are the main categories that we have discussed in our CT 15 class.

  1. For Protection
    According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, protection is “something that keeps a person or thing from being harmed, lost, etc.” Marshall, S., et al. (2004) suggested two types of motivations under protection—physical and psychological.
    a. Physical
    As stated by Jones, S. (2011), “clothing has evolved to meet many practical and protective purposes.” Clothing can be motivated by environmental conditions. People have developed certain dresses for cold weather, rainy season, firemen, science laboratory personnel, and so on.

Left: Bianca wears an appropriate clothing for a hot weather. Right: Prince wears a clothing appropriate for a cold weather despite the scorching heat.

    b. Psychological
    Some groups of people, especially in ancient times, have beliefs which somehow affect and can be seen in their clothing. For instance, some elderlies in our province let their young children wear red-and-black beaded bracelet as protection against bad elements.

Left: A baby girl wears a “Pwera Usog” bracelet to ward her off from “Balis.” Right: Giliane never wore any charms to ward her off of evil.

  1. For Modesty
    We believe that the definition of modesty is definite but the perception of the word differs from culture to culture, from era to era.
modest 1

Left: It is still modest for American girls to wear short and skimpy skirts and dresses. Right: It would be very immodest for Islamic countries, like Syria, to wear such clothes.

modest 2

Left: It is modest for UP Students here in the Philippines to wear skinny pants. Right: It is immodest for girls in Islamic countries to wear tight and skinny pants.

  1. To Denote Status
    Jones, S. (2011) cited George Sproles, in his book Consumer Behaviour Towards Dress (1979), who suggested symbolic differentiation and social affiliation—such as profession, social standing, and religious association—as factors affecting clothing.
denote status

Left: Beads and accessories like these can only be worn by Kings and royalties in Africa. Right: But in India, similar accessories can be bought from gypsy sellers.

  1. For Decoration
    Marshall, S., et al. (2004) notes that clothing can be inspired by adornment to enhance the body, hair, face, and the overall sexual attractiveness of a person.
decor 2

Left: Mimi and her friends wear shades as an accessory and additional decoration to their overall clothing. Right: A blind Filipino street performer wears shades as a necessity.

decor 1

Left: Quimzon Family wears a Santa cap as an accessory. Right: Santa Claus wears Santa cap as a part of his uniform.

Functions of Dress

On the other hand, this part answers the question, “what is clothing for?” More than the influences for dressing, it is also important to know the purpose that all types of clothing serve. Eubank, K. and Tortora, P. (1994) mentioned the following six functions of dress in their book.

  1. Designation of Age
    Eubank and Tortora mentioned that “clothing serves to mark age change.” Indeed, there are clothing which are only used by a certain age group.

Left: Royal children in Ancient Egypt have Horus Lock all throughout their childhood, until they reach puberty. Right: Anakin from Starwars plays his part wearing a Padawan Braid as part of his character dress.

  1. Designation of Gender Difference
    Furthermore, according to Eubank and Tortora, the norm in almost all societies is that men and women’s clothing should be dissimilar. Marshall, S., et al. (2004) also mentioned that though men and women may have similar clothing, some features of the dress will indicate masculinity or femininity.
gender 2

This is a photo shows that the clothing of Koreans, in International Center, UP Diliman, functions with gender differentiation.

gender 1

Left: Ate Tin wears a dress showing femininity, while Kuya Jan wears a polo showing masculinity. Right: Both wears the same shirt, disregarding the gender differentiation function of clothing.

  1. Designation of Status
    Eubank and Tortora noted that clothing serves differently depending on occupational and marital status, as well as cultural, social, and economic status. Peculiar clothing of a certain culture may not be allowed to be worn by others; common people might not be allowed to wear the dress of high ranked people in the society.

Left: Ma’am Kaye, the English Department Head, the Principal, and two students all wearing their designated uniforms; it shows the different status they are in. Middle: Ma’am Kaye, in her uniform, and her students casually eat in a tea house. Right: Ma’am Kaye, off of her uniform, casually bonds with her students.

  1. Identification of Group Membership
    In addition to the previous function, some group of people dress differently from the others because they belong to a certain group—ethnic, religious, and social among others. According to Jones, S. (2011), “people dress alike in order to belong to a group” and “those who don’t conform to the accepted styles are assumed to have divergent ideas and are ultimately mistrusted and excluded.”
group diff

Left: Dave wears an attire for a Catholic Ceremony. Right: Muslim men wear their traditional Islamic attire in the Mosque.

  1. Ceremonial Use of Clothing
    People from different backgrounds observe their own practices, rituals, and ceremonies. Additionally, different dresses are usually an integral part of such events. Eubank and Tortora emphasized that the society dictates proper clothing for special events such as weddings and burials. There are also specific clothing for other events like in professional football and basketball games.

Left: Daddy Glenn wears a jersey uniform for their basketball game. Right: He wears a jersey shirt while swimming at Taytay Falls.

  1. Enhancement of Sexual Attractiveness
    As stated by Jones, S. (2011), “clothing can be used to accentuate the sexual attractiveness and availablity of the wearer” and it can be designed to improve our individuality and physical attractions.

Left and Middle: Tattoo enhances the sexual attraction of the wearer. Right: During the Edo Period in Japan, tattoo marks are put on the forehead of criminals as punishment.


[Untitled photograph of a butterfly tattoo at the pelvic area]. Retrieved from

Anakin Skywalker with his Padawan braid [Photograph]. (2014). Retrieved from

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Corrente, Sal (Photographer). (2012). Heart-Rush: The Power of Sexual Attraction, Retrieved from

Eubank, K. and Tortora, P. (1994). Chapter 1 Introduction. A Survey of historic costume: a history of Western dress. (pg. 1-3). New York: Fairchild Publications.

Evangelista, Christine (Photographer). (2014). Retrieved from

Jones, S. (2011). The Uses of Clothing. In Fashion Design. (pg. 24-30). London: Laurence King.

Lacey, Terry Dr. (Photographer). Muslim Women Wearing Trousers [Photograph], Retrieved from

Laine, Daniel (Photographer). (2009). Hapi – VI – King of Bana – Cameroon [Photograph], Retrieved from

Lynch, A. and Strauss, D. (2007). Fashion and Self. In Changing fashion: a critical introduction to trend analysis and meaning (pg. 13-24). New York: Berg.

Madfor3 (Videographer). (2011). Old Filipino man singing great! [Video], Retrieved from

Marshall, S., etal. (2004). Cultural influences. In Individuality in clothing selection and personal appearance (pg. 25-54). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Master Blaster (Photographer). (14 March, 2013). Criminals of Japan’s Edo Period Were Often Punished by Getting Face Tattoos [Photograph], Retrieved from (2015). Protection. Retrieved from

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Vlue/Shuttershock (Photographer). Two teen girls and many exposed limbs [Photograph], Retrieved from

Let’s Get These Straight: Clothing, Fashion, and Style

To many people, the similarities and differences of clothing, fashion, and style have been unclear—myself included. And some people are still confused with these concepts.

Having asked a few of my friends about this, I have noticed that they pretty much have an idea on the meaning of the words but they somehow need extra time on comparing and contrasting these concepts. So to get these concepts straight, I also did my research.

Clothing or dress is “a general term that includes not only garments, but also aspects of personal appearance that can be changed such as grooming” (Tortora and Eubank, 2010).

On the other hand, style is “the predominant form [or way] of dress of any given period or culture” (Tortora and Eubank, 2010).

While, fashion is “a recurring cultural pattern [or style], found in societies having open-ended class systems” (Gold, 1964).

All three concepts involve any or all parts of a clothing. Clothing is used to communicate fashion (for a short duration of time) and style (for a long duration of time). Fashion influences style and style influences clothing.

Furthermore, clothing may be permanent or temporarily changed every time or day; fashion is dynamic and changes so often; and style takes longer periods of time before it changes.

Lastly, I think fashion is shared or may be personal; style is more personal; and clothing is intimate or most personal.


Eubank, K. and Tortora, P. (2010). Survey of Historic Costume. In Part Two: The Middle Ages (5th Ed) (pg. 102). USA: Fairchild Books

Eubank, K. and Tortora, P. (2010). Survey of Historic Costume. In Preface (5th Ed) (pg. xx). USA: Fairchild Books