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More Filipinos now shopping online
Publication Date : 10-03-2013
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 per cent). It is followed by Sulit (10.1 per cent), Metrodeal (7.2 per cent), Cebu Pacific (6.0 per cent), Ensogo (5.5 per cent), and Amazon (5.1 per cent). 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 per cent) are the most visited in the Philippines, followed by personal, education or professional development portals (40.3 per cent), and computer software websites (33.9 per cent). Meanwhile, app stores registered the highest amount of online spending, 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 per cent of respondents buying certain items because they are environment-friendly, up from 75.2 per cent in 2011. In addition, 62.5 per cent bought the product because a percentage of sale is donated to a good cause, up from 54.6 per cent in 2011.
In general, the Filipino online shopper is cautious in making online purchases, with most of the respondents (89 per cent) citing security as a top concern, closely followed by speed of transaction (88.5 per cent), convenience of payment methods (88.5 per cent) in their transactions. Other factors considered important by 80 per cent 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 per cent) also plan their online purchases, up from 74 per cent from 2011. This points to an online shopping behaviour that is less impulsive, except when it involved coupon/deal sites (triggering 28.8 per cent of purchases), and airline tickets (25.1 per cent). To mitigate any perceived risks associated with e-commerce, 81 per cent of the respondents read online reviews. Moreover, majority of the shoppers (77 per cent) 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 per cent of Filipinos access the Internet to shop.
While Filipinos currently rank lower than their neighbours 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 per cent, increasing from 84.4 per cent 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 per cent from 74.6 per cent in 2011, and the number of mobile-online shoppers doubling in the last 12 months: 21.4 per cent in 2012 (versus 11 per cent in 2011). The expansion of this market will be facilitated by the availability of more apps (36.1 per cent), which presumably assuage security concerns, and come with the promise of being able to shop on the go (32.5 per cent), and convenience (27.8 per cent).
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 minimising the delivery fees, protecting consumers from unscrupulous websites, and facilitating the ease of transactions.