Shopping online
HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2019 - 12:00am

With the Christmas season fast approaching, expect many Filipinos to turn to online shopping once more just to avoid the mad rush and traffic.

As more people connect to the internet and resort to online shopping, this year, online businesses are projected to grow to a market volume of about P53 trillion, as revealed by a Statista report. 

A report from aseanup.com revealed that as of January 2019, there are 124.2 million mobile subscriptions in the Philippines, 76 million internet users, 76 million social media users, and 72 million mobile social users.

It said that the growing connectivity of the Philippines enables more and more of its population to access the internet. And with more connected Filipinos primarily accessing through mobile devices, expect the country’s e-commerce market to grow even further.

The report listed the top 10 e-commerce websites in the country as follows: Lazada Philippines with a monthly traffic estimate of 25 million; Shopee Philippines (14.4 million); Zalora Philippines (1.25 million); Carousell Philippines (930,000); eBay Philippines (880,000); Globe Online Shop (840,000); Metrodeal (770,000); BeautyMNL (590,000); Argomall (570,000); and Galleon.ph (230,000).

A report by Statista said that the Philippine e-commerce market revenue grew to $840 million (P44 trillion) in 2018 from $688 million (P36 trillion) in 2017. Revenue is expected to grow by 10.5 percent yearly leading to a market volume of $996 million (P53 trillion) by 2019.

CNN Philippines quoted Zalora Philippines’ Paulo Campos II as saying that their company has seen accelerated growth in the last two to three years and he expects more growth this year and the years to come. According to Campos, about two percent of the overall retail market is done online. E-commerce penetration is about two percent and he expects this to increase to five to seven percent in the new few years.

But what really makes an online business successful? 

J&T Express Philippines chief executive officer Dean Ding said that amid the growth of the e-commerce sector, variables such as having the right products, competitive pricing, and a deep understanding of the target market are keys to having an edge. However, these things do not mean certain victory at all. 

He noted that one element that online retailers tend to neglect is having the right courier to deliver their products on time. Ding pointed out that some learned the hard way since they failed to realize that gaining customers and repeat purchases can be achieved if their packages are delivered swiftly and right on the dot.

Citing a Dotcom Distribution study, Ding noted that 87 percent of online shoppers are basing their purchase decision on delivery time, 67 of buyers would pay additional money for same-day delivery for meeting deadline, while 47 percent are willing to pay more to have their orders arrive quickly.

He emphasized that delivery service providers can make or break an online business, adding that the right delivery partner is the trump card of any retailer in the online world.

Ding stressed that today’s consumers not only want fast delivery but also, security, reliability, efficiency, and seamless transaction.

Online businesses rely heavily on delivery couriers as it works like a hand that reaches the actual items to the costumers. For J&T Express, the leading express delivery company in Southeast Asia, this mindset makes them even more dedicated to forging relationships to support all the online businesses in the Philippines, Ding said.

Anti-development

Two years ago, Iloilo City was named as one of the 25 digital cities in the country. And according to the Department of Science and Technology, it has the potential of becoming a smart city.

According to reports, Iloilo also enjoys the highest Human Development Index (HDI) among the six provinces in the Western Visayas.

From being a sleepy town a few decades ago, Iloilo City has become a highly urbanized one while retaining its rural charm. Traffic remains manageable and the cost of living remains much lower than, say Cebu City. Developers have definitely taken notice, if we use as indication the massive number of construction activities going on. Malls are sprouting all over and business process outsourcing companies have set up shop. For me, what I immediately noticed the last time I was there was, while Iloilo City has become busier, I can still breathe in fresh air that does not smell of smoke coming from vehicles or nearby factories. I just hope that the local government can plan the city’s development well because definitely, Iloilo City is the next big thing.

However, Ilonggos are hoping that politics will not get in the way of development.

Neophyte Iloilo City Rep. Julienne Baronda has refiled a measure that seeks to divide her city into two legislative districts. Chopping the city in two was earlier proposed by former city congressman and now mayor Jerry Treñas but the bill never prospered.

I remember reading one report citing the grand old man of Philippine politics Senator Lorenzo Tañada as saying in a telegram sent to his supporters to oppose the possibility that the then subprovince of Aurora would be separated from Quezon Province.

Tanada said that chopping off Quezon province does not provide a solution to charting its future or a means to improve the prospects of progress for the whole province, but would only create a new homegrown ruling class that would only serve their own personal interests and economic gains.

Should the Baronda proposal prosper, there would be two congressmen that will be elected for the city divided into two legislative districts in the 2022 election. How this serves a good purpose other than for political accommodation is something I don’t see. And for many Ilonggos, this only means additional pork barrel that needs to be filled up.

For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

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