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: 7/11/2017

Overview

eCommerce in the Philippines has a unique set-up; it is geared for massive growth but is also facing significant challenges. The rising middle class, high consumer spending and a young and vibrant, tech-savvy population is driving eCommerce forward by leaps and bounds.  According to eCommerceiq Asia[1], the Philippines eCommerce market in 2015 was estimated at US$0.5 billion which translates to only 0.5 percent of retail transactions in the country.  This market is estimated to grow into a US$10 billion industry by 2025.

Current Market Trends

 
This upward trajectory seems to be supported by Euromonitor’s data on internet and device penetration:

  • 44.3 percent of the Philippine population use the internet

  • 29.1 percent of households have access to the internet, while only 3.7 percent have access to broadband internet

  • 44 percent of mobile subscribers have access to broadband service on their mobile phones

  • 99.2 percent of the Philippine population is covered by a mobile cellular network

  • 86.4 percent of households possess mobile telephone

  • 31.2 percent of households have personal computers

  • 31.3 percent of households have laptops

  • 55 percent of households have smartphones

  • 2.1 percent of households have tabletsFilipinos are prolific users of social media.  Estimates this year show that there are 48 million active social media users from the Philippines.  Of this number, 60 million are on Facebook; 12 million on Twitter and 4 million are LinkedIn users.

Domestic eCommerce (B2C)

 
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 2016, average internet speed in the Philippines is only 4.5 megabytes per second (MBPS), the slowest in the Asia Pacific.   

  • Low PC Penetration: PC penetration is estimated at 31.2 percent. 44.3 percent of Filipinos use the internet.  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.  Broadband access from home accounts for only 3.7 percent of households.

  • Low digital payment penetration: eCommerceiq Asia data shows that an estimated 70 percent of Filipinos do not use banks and less than three percent use credit cards. Hence, online stores in the Philippines provide a cash on delivery payment option or payment centers (i.e. 7/11 branches).  In addition, telecom companies have offered mobile wallet solutions; PayMaya (PLDT) and GCash (Globe).

  • 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 adept to handle cases involving electronic transactions.  The system is simply not yet in place.

 

Popular eCommerce Sites

 

  • b2bpricenow– 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. 

  • asiarxCaters 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.

  • Philippines trade key– 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.

  • Philippine companies – 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.

  • Philippines tradeford – 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.

  • ken research – 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. The vast 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 48 million active social media users in the Philippines.  Of this number, 60 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] Nov 2016. Philippines E-Commerce Landscape. Philippines E-Commerce Landscape

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