Why more Filipinos are shopping online

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 26 2013 08:15 AM | Updated as of Jan 28 2013 10:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Whether it's shopping for shoes on Zalora or deals on Groupon, a growing number of Filipinos are opting to shop online.

A recent study conducted by global payments technology company Visa showed more Filipinos have tried online shopping, buoyed by improved perception in security of credit cards and debit cards.

The Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Research 2012 showed the number of online transactions made by Filipinos have nearly doubled in the last 12 months. Now, 71% of Filipinos have made an online purchase, compared to 35% 12 months ago.

Iain Jamieson, Visa country manager for the Philippines, said the number is expected to go up to 86% in the next 12 months.

Most of the online purchases made by Filipinos were in travel (38%), fashion (30%) and personal electronics (28%). In terms of frequent online purchases, Filipinos bought movie tickets (27%), cosmetics (27%) and health products (26%).

Jamieson attributed the growth in online shopping in the Philippines to improved consumer perception of online security. Around 77% of those surveyed said they now feel more secure than 2 years ago, mainly due to the banks' protection of personal and financial data, as well as online security features such as Verified by Visa.

"While eCommerce is still in its early stages in the Philippines, we expect to see rapid growth across all purchase categories in the next year. However, there are still barriers to overcome for the eCommerce ecosystem in the Philippines to fulfill its potential. Besides increasing consumer trust in online merchants when it comes to product delivery, online payment security concerns also have to be addressed," Jamieson said.

"As we have seen in the survey, as important as it is to develop innovative solutions to improve security online, it is also crucial to communicate these measures frequently and effectively to the Filipino consumer, from both the banks and the merchants," he added.

When shopping online, 68% of Filipinos use a payment card. Credit cards are used more frequently (42%) than debit cards (34%).

With the popularity of smartphones and tablets, many Filipinos are going online to browse for products and services. Digital content was the most browsed item on mobile phones (40%), followed by personal electronics (33%) and household electronics (30%).