MANILA – Unilever Philippines, one of the leading manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), remains optimistic about the domestic market as it expects revenues this year to be higher than the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
In an interview in Taguig City Monday, Unilever Philippines chairman and chief executive officer Fredy Ong said the economic expansion and easing of inflation rate are expected to boost consumer spending.
"The Philippines continues to be among the top 10 markets for Unilever globally, with the Unilever Philippines business growing ahead of the country’s GDP," Ong said.
The Philippines' GDP grew 5.6 percent in 2023, and the government targets the economy to increase by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent this year.
Ong said that after recovering from the pandemic as well as the easing of inflation rates, purchases of premium portfolio of Unilever brands started to pick up.
"You would see that there's a shift to some value brands during the high inflationary period. However, we are seeing people going back to their main brands... The inflation has eased already and we're hoping that we would be able to help consumers, right, to gain access to Unilever branded portfolio," he said.
The country’s inflation rate slowed to 2.8 percent last January, the lowest since October 2020. Inflation in January 2023 is at 8.7 percent.
"Inflation hit consumers hard, and that's the reason why you have to play the portfolio game. You have portfolio for low-income group, and portfolio that's good for people who have money to spend," he added.
In line with the global target of the multinational company, Ong said Unilever Philippines will focus on boosting its 30 core brands in the local market.
Unilever has five business units in the Philippines --beauty and wellbeing, which includes brands like Cream Silk, Sunsilk, Dove, Ponds, and Vaseline; personal care, including oral care products and body cleansing brands such as Close-up and Pepsodent and deodorants Rexona, Axe, and Dove; nutrition business unit, which include Knorr, Lady’s Choice, and Bestfoods; home care, which include Surf, Breeze and Domex products; and ice cream business, offering Selecta products, following its joint venture with RFM Corp. (PNA)