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Less Fashion, More Gadgets: How the Pandemic Is Shaping Filipinos’ Online Shopping Habits

Through the Map of Ecommerce Report, a clearer picture of how Filipinos are behaving online is emerging.
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On casual observation, the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Filipinos’ behavior online is obvious: less time outdoors, more time at home and on the internet. As the number of people going out to eat, shop, or watch movies nosedived, so has video streaming, gaming, and online shopping exploded.

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Ecommerce, in particular is seeing a monumental surge during this period, mirroring what’s happening in the US. But just how much has Filipinos’ consumer behavior online changed during the last six months and counting?

Photo by iPrice Group.
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To find the answer, meta-search website the iPrice Group worked with App Annie and SimilarWeb on the Map of E-commerce report, a snapshot of how Filipinos, and the rest of our neighbors in Southeast Asia, are adapting to the changes wrought by the health crisis.

Comparing the first and second quarters of 2020, here are some of the findings of the study:

1| More Filipinos are definitely shopping online

The Philippines experienced the highest increase in the use of shopping apps (53 percent) in Southeast Asia. The total sessions in shopping apps in the country reached 4.9 billion. The study also said that ecommerce players in countries that underwent strict social distancing are expected to report an increase in mobile app usage and downloads.

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2| The Philippines posted the highest increase in “basket size” in the region

Overall, Southeast Asians are spending more money online this year compared to the first half of 2019. While the average basket size (or the amount added to an online cart) increased in each country, the Philippines had the highest increase (57 percent) compared to its neighbors.

In iPrice’s platform alone, Filipino users now spend about P1,311 per month on average. 

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iPrice also analyzed web traffic data from SimilarWeb to get an idea of which sites that are thriving and which are failing, as well as product categories that are gaining demand, and how ecommerce players are adapting to the unexpected pandemic. Here are some insights: 

3| Fewer people are browsing fashion retail sites

Fashion ecommerce sites have taken the biggest hit in the region as clothing and apparel become less of a priority while people are staying home. Each country’s fashion websites recorded by iPrice and SimilarWeb have experienced a collective decrease in web traffic. 

In the Philippines, fashion sites’ web traffic collectively decreased by 30 percent compared to last year’s.

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2| Meanwhile, electronics sites are booming

Electronics sites increased by a 59 percent during the first half of 2020. iPrice sees this as proof that Filipinos are increasing hungry for information about gadgets during the lockdown period. Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines had the highest web traffic increase in electronics sites.

Strangely, electronics sites in other countries (except Singapore) even experienced a decrease in web traffic. 

3| The most ordered item in Southeast Asia are sports and outdoor products

Out of all the other categories, sports and outdoor products obtained the highest growth in average orders, posting an increase of 34 percent compared to last year. The average amount spent on these products is $28 (P1,361). According to iPrice, because of restrictions on outdoor and sports activities, this is a clear sign that consumers are adapting. 

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4| Ecommerce sites are doing are switching up their promos to attract more customers

Because of shifting consumer trends, ecommerce players are trying new things to entice more customers to buy their products. Giants like Lazada PH and Shopee PH offered “free shipping” promos across the year and added a number of promos on essential goods, too. Local player Beauty MNL, meanwhile offered numerous discounts/promos on vitamins and supplements.

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To see the full Map ef Ecommerce Philippines report, click here.

All data on the total visits on desktop & mobile web in this study were taken from global traffic figures from the respective websites as of June 2020 from?SimilarWeb. The following industries were not included in this list: e-ticketing, financial services, rental services, insurance, delivery service, food & beverage, meta-search, couponing, cashback websites & e-commerce who solely provides classified ads/P2P services. SimilarWeb introduced a major algorithm update on September 2019 which affected the total visits recorded by all websites for 2019. The number of sessions in a quarter based on quarterly sessions on Android Shopping Apps. 

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About The Author
Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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