People turn to e-commerce sites Lazada and Shopee for daily essentials during this ECQ period. Photo from Freepik
Culture Spotlight

What Pinoys are buying online today: cleaning products, pancake mixes and mobile load

Soaps and detergents, canned goods, first-aid supplies, jams, pancake mixes, and mobile phone load—Lazada and Shopee reveal their bestselling items during the coronavirus pandemic. By RHIA DIOMAMPO-GRANA
ANCX | Apr 16 2020

Many Pinoys are most likely washing, scrubbing, dusting, and disinfecting their homes as we speak—that is, if we’ll look at people’s top online purchases on e-commerce sites Lazada and Shopee. In light of the ongoing pandemic, having a coronavirus free home is practically everyone’s agenda.

There is an increased demand in cleaning supplies (detergent and soaps) before the enhanced community quarantine in Shopee, while sales of air purifiers and bleach improved in Lazada in recent weeks.

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People are obviously paying more attention to their health and hygiene, as can be gleaned in the robust sales of personal care products, first-aid supplies, and multivitamins. There is a surge in demand for surgical masks and sanitizers, to the point that these have become scarce.

Filipinos are obviously stocking up on food staples—and by that, we mean canned goods and water (okay, throw in bottles/cans of soda as well). Shopee also notes that there are items that are “surprisingly doing well”—these are jam spreads, pancake mixes, and pet food.

The two online shopping platforms also regard an upturn in the sales of digital products, particularly mobile load and data. “Mobile top-up purchases spiked nearly 70% in the first week since the lockdown, compared to Lazada’s average daily,” observes Carlos Barrera, Chief Operating Officer of Lazada Philippines. “This is probably due to many Filipinos staying in Metro Manila reaching out to their families in the provinces.”


Online grocery delivery service

The imposition of the ECQ has apparently made it inconvenient (problematic, for some) to even go to the supermarket to buy basic goods. It is for this reason that both platforms have increased the variety of daily essentials during this ECQ period.

Items classified as essentials by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are alcohol and sanitizers, personal care products, vitamins and supplements, baby care items, fresh meat and vegetables, canned goods, snacks, beverages, household supplies, laundry cleaning equipment, and pet care necessities.

“When the ECQ was first announced on March 15, we continued the operations of LazMart, Lazada Philippines’ online grocery delivery service, to provide Filipinos their essential needs. This option helped people receive necessities required while maintaining social distancing,” says Barrera, adding that the demand for this service has went up to 14 times.

Since March 30, Lazada has since commenced delivery of products that fall under the said categories. They have been constantly communicating with their suppliers and partners to ensure there is sufficient stock of all their essential items. Lazada has also given sellers a platform to sell fresh produce such as vegetables and fruits sourced from local farmers, specialty meat and sausages, and leafy greens from Future Fresh, Manila’s lone hydroponic farm.

Shopee, on the other hand, assures they are working closely with their brand partners, sellers, and logistics suppliers to provide adequate stock and more variety of products to their users. They also coordinate with their sellers to make sure they have enough stocks of alcohol and masks. “In compliance with the DTI’s memorandum, we limit quantities to one box per user on Flash Deals. We also work with our sellers to ensure that our buyers get affordable and fair access to these products,” says Shopee’s representative.

To curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Lazada has put in place strict hygiene measures in accordance with government guidelines. These include: regular disinfection and sanitation of their warehouse and sortation facilities; safe handling of packages in a clean and sanitized environment; strict implementation of daily temperature checks; and hygiene practices for all their delivery staff such as regular hand washing, wearing of masks, and sanitizing before and after each delivery.


Paying, donating made easy  

Barrera observes that customers are transacting and paying via non-cash payment options on Lazada to avoid the risk of virus transmission and to facilitate faster deliveries. “Lazada Wallet usage has increased by almost 30% from the normal average usage,” shares Barrera. The digital wallet allows the account holder to do electronic transactions on Lazada, which include purchasing online, topping up, collecting refunds and promotional rebates.

As for Shopee, they have made Cash on Delivery (COD) available for easy and convenient transactions. “We see a lot of our users still paying through COD, a similar trend as per before ECQ,” says Shopee’s rep. But users are also using ShopeePay, their integrated e-wallet that lets users pay for purchases on Shopee conveniently and securely. Users can add funds from their verified bank accounts, make payments, and track their transactions directly via the e-wallet. 

Technology has also paved the way for Lazada users to extend much-needed support to our frontliners battling COVID-19 and to vulnerable communities, through their LazadaForGood program. On the digital platform, donors can pick vouchers that support their advocacy partners, which include Caritas Manila, ABS-CBN Foundation’s Pantawid ng Pag-ibig, Philippine Red Cross, Unicef, Project PEARLS, and many others.

They’ve also held benefit livestream concerts last March 30 and April 6 dubbed #RadioGivesBack: LazadaForGood Charity Concert in partnership with 4 radio stations. “Since ECQ started to date, advocacy partners have raised more than Php15 million that go directly to our partners in the form of 13,578 personal protective equipment (PPEs), 16,453 meals and food packs, and 1,821 hygiene supplies,” says Barrera.

Shopee also has a similar initiative that aims to raise funds to support frontliners and those who lost jobs and sources of income amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Dubbed Shopee Bayanihan, the initiative is a partnership with Red Cross, Kaya Natin, World Vision, and other organizations to support communities that are most affected by COVID-19. This allows Shopee users to make a direct donation via the app in amounts of P50, P100, P500, and P1,000.