'Self-gifting' seen to rise as Filipinos seek 'positive outlet' to weather pandemic: Facebook

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 28 2020 04:54 PM

An e-commerce app interface is shown in this file photo. As more Filipinos shop online during the coronavirus lockdown, complaints also rise. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Self-gifting is likely among what will drive online sales this holiday season as Filipinos seek a "positive" outlet and ward off depression from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook Philippines said Friday.

Shoppers in the Philippines are also likely to buy 2X more for themselves during the holidays, according to Facebook IQ’s Mega Sales & Holiday 2020 insights.

Some 46 percent of Filipinos look to reward themselves as the outbreak begins to ease, Facebook said, adding that most anticipated deals include travel, clothing and personal electronics. 

"We all have a hard time adjusting…We want to gift ourselves, we want to reward ourselves. We want some positive outlets in this trying times," said Facebook Philippines country director John Rubio.

"That’s going to happen over the next few months because many people have delayed purchases," he said.

As the pandemic hits incomes of many, Filipinos have delayed big purchases until mega sale events starting this "ber" months, the study showed. 

The study, conducted with YouGov from Dec. 2 to Dec. 24, 2019 with 48,348 respondents in 31 markets including Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines also offered other insights for brands including the rise of mega sale events, Facebook said.

MEGA SALES

Although consumers are likely to be "prudent" in spending this holiday, online cumulative sales during mega sale events is projected to be higher this year due to "massive shift" to e-commerce and changing consumer habits, Rubio said.

On a per customer basis, spending could be lower but the aggregate is likely to increase since more people now shop online, he said.

Shoppers in the Philippines anticipate mega sales events such as 9.9, 10.10, 11.11, and 12.12 before purchasing items that they have delayed due to the pandemic, the platform said. 

"Because of the economic downturn, mega sales will become more and more important as people look for good deals online, people are going to be prudent on how they spend their money... It will expedite the rise of mega-sales," it said.

“The pandemic has shifted people’s priorities, and understandably also their plans for the year. As we tread into the ‘next normal,’ we foresee these changes are likely to have lasting impact on brands and businesses,” Rubio said.

Brands should also take note that GenX and Boomers dominate the global mobile and e-commerce growth, the study showed.

Price-conscious individuals, whose income likely declined due to the coronavirus pandemic would look for value, affordability and authenticity when shopping online this holiday season, Facebook said.

While 99 percent of respondents said the coronavirus pandemic will impact their finances, 87 percent said they agreed that they would look for sales and bargains in their holiday shopping, Facebook said citing a research by GWI conducted in the Philippines last April 22 to 27, 2020.

DEMOCRITIZING E-COMMERCE

The massive shift to online is also likely to remain even after the pandemic is contained as 55 percent of respondents plan to spend less time in stores or plan to visit less frequently while 48 percent plan to shop online either for delivery and pick-up, Facebook said.

As a free platform, Facebook said it has "democratized" e-commerce by providing a free platform as well as tools that enable even small-scale sellers to pivot digitally, Rubio said.

"Before its very hard to set up a website to sell…We’re proud to help thousand of businesses to quickly pivot online...Suddenly thousands have an access to millions of Filipinos just like that," Rubio said. 

Globally there are 180 million businesses on the platform, only 5 percent of which pay for the service, Facebook said. No total data is available for Philippine sellers.