Mobile purchases in PH 2x higher than on desktop computers, study says

Anna Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2022 11:10 PM

Citizens use their phones in Quezon City on August 16, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File
Citizens use their phones in Quezon City on August 16, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

Online shopping in the Philippines has rapidly migrated from desktop computers to smartphones, a study by e-commerce aggregator i-Price said. 

The Malaysian firm’s recent report titled “The State of Online Shoppers in Southeast Asia 2021/22,” found that “mobile purchases in the country are now more than two times higher than those on desktops”. 

“Five years ago, consumers were much more likely to buy online via their desktop computers than using their mobile devices. Times have changed – and so have consumer preferences. Today, online shopping in the Philippines and most Southeast Asian markets has shifted to smaller devices,” it read.

The shift was likewise observed in other Southeast Asian nations. 

On average, 5 percent of users browsing with their mobile phones in the region ended up in a checkout, while only 3 percent of desktop traffic resulted in a purchase. 

Vietnam, however, was an exception to the trend. 

“In this market, customers browse heavily on mobile, but still prefer to make the final purchase on desktop. We hypothesize consumer browsing patterns and relatively underdeveloped mobile platforms explain this behavior,” i-Price explained. 

According to the firm, “most Vietnamese online shoppers appear to be actively browsing during work hours and are more likely to be using their office desktops to complete their purchases.”

Compared to other countries, the group noted that the push for mobile adoption is also not as aggressive in Vietnam. 

i-Price attributed the move towards mobile phones to e-commerce providers’ effort to optimize their websites for smaller devices such as through the development of mobile apps. 

“Several popular merchants, such as The Gioi Di Dong and FPT, do not have mobile apps. Users can still access the e-commerce store via mobile, but many turn to the desktop version, where the larger screen allows for a more comfortable browsing and buying experience,” the group explained in the report.

“On the desktop, consumers have a comprehensive view of information, such as product specifications and payment details, which creates more confidence in the purchase,” it added. 

The Malaysia-based form also observed that online stores invested heavily in marketing initiatives to encourage mobile purchases.” 

For instance, some e-commerce players drive shoppers to their handheld platforms by developing e-wallet features, creating coupons, and offering discounts exclusive to mobile users. 

The wider range of affordable internet-enabled gadgets is also another macro trend that drove online shoppers to make purchases through their phones, i-Price pointed out. 

“Smartphones and tablets have made it easier for consumers to browse and buy online,” it said. 

Although mobile platforms account for most of the checkouts in the past year, desktops still play a “key role” in e-commerce in the Philippines as well as in Malaysia and Singapore. 

Based on the study, device penetration in the aforementioned markets is still high. 

“Online shoppers show hybrid browsing and buying patterns, moving across multiple platforms as they transition through the purchase funnel (Awareness, Research, Decision to Purchase),” the report revealed. 

An example of “hybrid browsing” is when an online shopper would look for products using their phones during their daily commute, research more thoroughly on the products using their desktops at work, and then check out via their tablets at home in the evening. 

“E-commerce companies track this user behavior to tailor and target their marketing strategies. From in-depth reviews to technical information and product specifications, content needs to be adapted according to the stage in the buying journey,” i-Price said.

It went on: “Detailed product guides are effective in attracting customers during the awareness and research stage. Email marketing campaigns and remarketing can be effective in converting those who have added products to their cart without checking out.” 

The study was based on data gathered from 125 million unique users on iPrice Group websites from six South East Asia key markets (Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore), spanning from January 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022.


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