More Filipinos now shopping online
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MasterCard survey reveals growing e-commerce market in PH, preference for local brands, and enabling role of mobile technologies.
More and more Filipinos are beginning to shop online, according to the results of MasterCard’s Online Shopping Behavior Study 2012 in 14 Asia Pacific countries. The survey also shows that the country’s e-commerce potential is expected to grow even more with the emergence of enabling technologies.
Dominating the Philippine e-commerce landscape are local deals and promo websites, although the most visited website is eBay (12.5%). It is followed by Sulit (10.1%), Metrodeal (7.2%), Cebu Pacific (6.0%), Ensogo (5.5%), and Amazon (5.1%). The preference for local sites is due to fear of hidden charges, concerns about security and speed of delivery, and the availability of most of the items in local sites.
Music download sites (43.9%) are the most visited in the Philippines, followed by personal, education or professional development portals (40.3%), and computer software websites (33.9%). Meanwhile, app stores registered the highest amount of online spend, pegged at US$297, along with supermarkets ($245), and airlines ($195).
The study also reveals the rise in the category of ethical spending, with 78.6% of respondents buying certain items because they are environment-friendly, up from 75.2% in 2011. In addition, 62.5% bought the product because a percentage of sale is donated to a good cause, up from 54.6% in 2011.
In general, the Filipino online shopper is cautious in making online purchases, with most of the respondents (89%) citing security as a top concern, closely followed by speed of transaction (88.5%), convenience of payment methods (88.5%) in their transactions. Other factors considered important by 80% of the respondents are price/values, return or exchange policy, website reputation, online review, customer service, low delivery charges, and use of various payment methods.
Most respondents (79.5%) also plan their online purchases, up from 74% from 2011. This points to an online shopping behavior that is less impulsive, except when it involved coupon/deal sites (triggering 28.8% of purchases), and airline tickets (25.1%). To mitigate any perceived risks associated with e-commerce, 81% of the respondents read online reviews. Moreover, majority of the shoppers (77%) tend to go to the online shopping sites they have used before.
In terms of gender, women tend to have more positive views, higher involvement, and openness about online shopping than men, who are more concerned about security issues. Interestingly, the men are most likely to shop from and spend on foreign websites.
With respondents that cover the country’s 18 to 64 year-old population, the study shows that 40.4% of Filipinos access the Internet to shop. For the past three months, 64% of them purchased online, up from 2011’s 61%, and significantly higher than 2010’s 38%.
While Filipinos currently rank lower than their neighbors in the propensity to conduct online transactions, the country’s index of 71 has an upward trajectory, rising by 7 points from 2011’s 64, and 14 from 2010’s 57. The same is true for their online shopping satisfaction rating, which is at 86.1%, increasing from 82.6% in 2010 and 84.4% in 2011. Such a pattern differs from the fluctuating or plateauing trends among the top scorers like China, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.
Mobile commerce is a key area of growth, with the number of Filipinos with in-mobile Internet access rising to 78.5% from 74.6% in 2011, and the number of mobile-online shoppers doubling in the last 12 months: 21.4% in 2012 (versus 11% in 2011). The expansion of this market will be facilitated by the availability of more apps (36.1%), which presumably assuage security concerns, and come with the promise of being able to shop on the go (32.5%), and convenience (27.8%).
In general, the report is bullish on the prospects of e-commerce advancing in the Philippines, as long as merchants, and credit card and payment solution companies more effectively promote the security of online transactions, ensure that there are no hidden charges, and strictly adhere to delivery timelines.
Other suggestions to improve the Filipino online shopping experience include minimizing the delivery fees, protecting consumers from unscrupulous websites, and facilitating the ease of transactions.