Digital shopping is no longer a small niche; it is growing fast. By 2021, 2.14 billion, more than a quarter of the world’s population, will be online buyers. Because of this huge, growing market, hundreds of global brands, as well as millions of local ones, are putting their products online.
The Slow Rise of Digital Shopping in the Philippines
Despite early digital market ventures, such as Multiply shopping in 2011, online marketplaces haven’t taken off in the Philippines compared to its neighboring countries. With its lead in social networking, e-commerce should have been a natural fit for the nation. Unfortunately, slow adoption of credit cards and other digital payments slowed down digital markets.
This is increasingly no longer the case. In a PayPal study, a third of consumer respondents are comfortable using and have confidence in cashless transactions. The effect on e-commerce is electric. By 2020, local sales from e-commerce are expected to hit $4 billion.
Mobile’s Growing Steam
Another possible reason for the growth of digital shopping is the convenience and ubiquity of smartphones in the Philippines. In Southeast Asia, 54 percent of e-commerce transactions are performed on mobile phones.
When it comes to mobile shopping experience, five apps seem to dominate the iOS Store and Google Play. Each has their pros and cons for brands.
Lazada is the country’s most popular e-commerce platform with a large and growing portfolio of products. It is currently the number one mobile shopping app. The shopping experience has a strong focus on branded products to leverage the Filipino love of brands. Lazada is a solid choice for brands to showcase their products but its vast offerings can make it harder for brands without big names to catch consumer attention.
Hot on Lazada’s heels, Shopee is the second highest-rated app and actually overtook Lazada in the iOS Store in the second half of 2017. The app offers a social networking experience that allows users to follow their friends and favorite sellers, and the ability to use hashtags. While Shopee carries many big brands too, it takes particular effort to cater to start-ups. It provides tools to sellers to easily manage their shop and inventory as well as end-to-end logistics that enables them to send products using Shopee’s services. If your brand wants to reach social media-loving Filipinos or take advantage of its ease-of-use, this digital marketplace will be great for you.
Firmly in third place is Zalora. While the previous two showcase all types of products, Zalora is synonymous with fashion. The app is popular all over the ASEAN. If your brand specializes in fashion and wants to penetrate ASEAN markets, your products need to be on this mobile app.
Founded in 1995, eBay has helped to define multinational e-commerce. It offers all kinds of products and services from almost everywhere. It began as an online auction and this heritage shows in the many good deals and rare finds that shoppers discover every day. This is a great digital shop to showcase your products if you’re looking for worldwide reach.
Although BeautyMNL is fighting hard for the top five, this app primarily caters to Filipino beauties. It was created by an online magazine of the same name. The digital shop features beauty and lifestyle brands that help Filipinas look and feel great. If your brand wants to target the Philippine women, this online store is a great way forward.
When it comes to digital marketplaces, there’s nothing stopping a brand to go on all of them. But for each online store, brands add another layer of complexity that smaller companies may not be able to handle. Best to choose one according to your needs then expand from there.
Mobile digital shopping is the future of the Philippines. To take advantage of this inescapable trend, brands and entrepreneurs need to start placing their products in mobile apps today.