Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and , reputable, prominent B2B websites.
Last Published: 11/27/2018

Overview

eCommerce is geared for massive growth but is also facing challenges related to the need for adequate network infrastructure. The rising middle class, high consumer spending, and a young and vibrant, tech-savvy population is driving eCommerce forward by leaps and bounds.  There is pressure from the Philippine Government for the private telecommunications companies to provide higher bandwidth capacity to the retail market.

Current Market Trends
This upward trajectory is supported by data from Wearesocial and Rappler in partnership with Globe Telecom: [1] and [2]

  • 63 percent of the Philippine population uses the internet;
  • 58 percent of households have access to the internet, while only ten percent have access to broadband internet. 83 percent are subscribed to the lowest speed tier plans (1-3 MBPS), and 55 percent of mobile subscribers have access to broadband service on their mobile phones;
  • 117 percent mobile phone subscription penetration rate from a total of 101 million population;
  • 95 percent are prepaid subscribers;
  • 1.5x (or 30 million users) growth rate in the mobile penetration;
  • 150K terabytes of data were consumed annually.
Filipinos are prolific users of social media.  Estimates this year show that there are 83 million active social media users from the Philippines.  Of this number, 67 million are on Facebook; 12 million on Twitter, and 4 million are LinkedIn users. There is good reason to be optimistic about eCommerce growth in the Philippines. However, the country also faces the following challenges to its growth:
  • Infrastructure gap = slow internet speed: According to Akamai’s “State of the Internet Report” for the fourth quarter of 2017, average internet speed in the Philippines is only 5.5 megabytes per second (MBPS), the slowest in the Asia Pacific.   

  • Most internet users gain access through smartphones.  Smartphone penetration is now at 55 percent of households.

  • Low Broadband Penetration: Many Filipinos access the web through internet cafés and their workplace.  

  • Low digital payment penetration: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on a 2017 survey shows that an estimated 86 percent of Filipinos do not use banks and less than three percent use credit cards [3]. Hence, online stores in the Philippines provide cash on delivery payment options or payment centers (i.e. 7/11 branches).  In addition, telecom companies have offered mobile wallet solutions; PayMaya (PLDT) and GCash (Globe). Approximately 29 percent of the population browses the internet for online shopping. [4]

  • The Philippines is a fast-growing retail e-commerce market and themost popular retail e-commerce platforms include Lazada, Shoppe, Zalora, Ebay, and Kimstore. [5]

  • Security concerns: Those who have credit cards are wary of transacting online given the numerous incidents of hacking and poor cybersecurity efforts that still plague the country.  Filipino consumers require further education on security measures that can protect their online transactions. This will establish increased levels of confidence in online banking, purchasing, and selling.

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
The Philippines has passed adequate legislation to promote eCommerce; the eCommerce Law, Cybercrime, and Data Privacy Laws.  However, enforcement agencies like the Department of Justice and Philippine National Police, and the local courts are not yet adept to handle cases involving electronic transactions.  The system is simply not yet in place.  The National Privacy Commission (NPC) is tasked with implementing the Data Privacy Law, and they have had significant achievement through Philippine-based companies designating “Data Privacy Officers” or DPOs.  The NPC is also leading the way for the Philippines to be complaint with international privacy agreements such as the European GDPR and APEC CBPR.

Popular eCommerce Sites
  • www.b2bpricenow.com– A trading portal with close to 8,000 members that are mostly from cooperatives.  It is officially endorsed by the Philippine Congress as the Philippine e-Marketplace for Agriculture and Fisheries.  This site is a trading portal that provides up to the minute price update on market information for agriculture, consumer goods, and industrial manufactures. 

  • https://e-order.asiarx.com/– Caters primarily to the pharmaceutical and medical supply industry, has a regional scope, multilingual capabilities, tight real-time integration with supplier systems, and focus on the customer’s perspective and business processes.  AsiaRx takes control of the entire procurement process from finding the product to availability check, to order status verification.

  • http://philippines.tradekey.com – A B2B marketplace connecting Filipino exporters with overseas buyers.  It connects traders with global wholesalers, buyers, importers and exporters, manufacturers and distributors in over 240 countries.

  • www.philippinecompanies.com – A Philippine business directory with 413,282 registered companies. This website builds its database from publicly accessible directories such as Business Registrations from various municipalities.

  • http://philippines.tradeford.com – Provides global importers with information on products, exporters, suppliers, manufacturers and wholesalers.  TradeFord's database of buyers and suppliers covers major industries such as apparel, fashion, chemicals, construction, electronics, furniture, food and beverage, health and beauty, machinery, transportation, and more.

  • https://www.kenresearch.com – Global industry research and information service company.  Provides industry intelligence, equity research reports and business consulting services covering several sectors.

Online Payment
The increase of online shopping and access to bank transactions online heralded a strong market for online payment in the Philippines. Vendors are turning to online payment as a convenient buying method.

Mobile eCommerce
Mobile internet penetration is growing in the Philippines at a rate of 30 million users a year. There are 119 million Filipinos subscribed for mobile phone usage using prepaid and broadband subscriptions. A majority of Filipinos access the internet through their mobile phones, providing cost effective and consistent access. Philippine and international businesses sell products and services through mobile that has a direct access to online consumers. The Philippines is the fastest growing app market in Southeast Asia.

Digital Marketing
The proliferation of social media and online platforms directly contributed to the growth of digital marketing. There were 101 million Filipino online users in 2016 and strong growth trends continue. Traditional marketing companies emerged with new marketing techniques that include social media. Businesses are continuing to transition to digital marketing to reach an even wider market for potential customers; this is a strong and growing trend.

Major Buying Holidays
Consumers in the Philippines traditionally make purchases during the months of November, December, March, April and May. These are the peak months that employees receive salary bonuses. Businesses offer sales and discounts during these months.

Social Media
Filipinos are prolific users of social media.  Estimates this year show that there are 83 million active social media users in the Philippines.  Of this number, 67 million use Facebook; 12 million use Twitter, and 4 million are LinkedIn users.  The Philippines is recognized as one of the top countries for internet users worldwide in terms of time spent on social media; 3.2 hours on mobile and 5.2 hours on desktop and tablet.
 
[1]Globe, R. i. (2016). A Profile of Internet Users in the Philippines. Retrieved from Rappler: https://www.rappler.com/brandrap/profile-internet-users-ph
[2]Kemp, S. (2017, February 16). digital in southeast asia in 2017. Retrieved from wearesocial: https://wearesocial.com/special-reports/digital-southeast-asia-2017
[3]Pilipinas, B. S. (2017). Surveys. Retrieved from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas: http://www.bsp.gov.ph/statistics/surveys.asp
[4] Globe, R. i. (2016). A Profile of Internet Users in the Philippines. Retrieved from Rappler: https://www.rappler.com/brandrap/profile-internet-users-ph
[5]Subido, L. K. (2018, January 20). What Are the Most Popular E-Commerce Platforms in the Philippines? Retrieved from Entrepreneur Philippines: https://www.entrepreneur.com.ph/news-and-events/what-are-the-most-popular-e-commerce-platforms-in-the-philippines-a00200-20180120

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Philippines eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce