Filipino shoppers trying e-commerce for the first time increase amid the pandemic: report

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Manila, Philippines – Filipino consumer behavior during the pandemic has shifted to frequent use of e-commerce platforms and cashless payments systems, a new report from financial services Visa shows.

In the Philippine-centric report, Visa noted that 52% of Filipinos shopped online through apps and websites for the first time during the pandemic and 43% of them made their first online purchase using social media channels.

Online shopping activity behavior also rose within the period of past year, as the report showed close to 9 in 10 Filipinos have increased their online shopping activities on websites or apps, whilst 7 in 10 are shopping more on social media channels. 

More than half of the consumers are also more inclined to shop from large online marketplaces (53%) and home-based businesses (61%). These new shopping preferences might turn into habits that last beyond the pandemic.

As part of the growing behavior of online purchases, food deliveries also rose, as more than 9 in 10 Filipinos used home delivery in the Philippines and 67% of them increased their use of home delivery services during the pandemic. This can be attributed to the existing quarantine and lockdown restrictions being implemented by the government in the country.

“The pandemic has transformed the way Filipinos shop and pay. Based on the latest highlights from our annual study, we see adoption of new consumer behaviors including more Filipinos using digital commerce platforms and helping to accelerate the usage of digital payments in the country. We see double digit growth for e-commerce transactions for purchases on marketplaces and digital goods,” said Dan Wolbert, country manager for the Philippines and Guam at Visa.

Wolbert also noted that some of the initial purchases made by first-time online consumers include food and groceries, bill payments as well as pharmaceutical products.

Using physical cash as payment has dwindled by the offset of the pandemic, as best compared to pre-pandemic consumers averaged to 7 out of 10 payments made in cash, compared to mid-pandemic consumers who only averaged to 5 out of 10 payments made in cash.

Filipinos cited using more contactless payments (73%), perceiving cash as unsafe because of the potential spread of infection (54%) and more places adopting digital payments (50%) as the top reasons for carrying less cash. In addition, Filipinos see bill payments (81%), grocery shopping (71%), and overseas travel (68%) as the top categories where they would likely go completely cashless in future.

The study also showed that contactless payments had 66% increase in usage amongst current users due to the pandemic. In addition, 88% of Filipinos who had not used contactless payments stated interest in using this payment method in the future. Top benefits perceived by Filipinos for usage of contactless cards include not having to carry cash with them (88%), feeling safe from infection (75%) and being an innovative payment method (68%).

“We believe that contactless payments will continue to grow as Filipinos appreciate the benefits of contactless payments, including perceiving this payment method to be more hygienic due to the absence of physical interaction at point-of-sale. Even though we’ve made progress in digital payments adoption, there remains huge opportunities for us to encourage more Filipinos to embrace digital payments as we look to expand digital payments acceptance across the country,” Dan added.

The study was conducted on 1,014 Filipinos aged 18-65 years of age across key cities in Manila, and in several provinces.

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