Filipinos likely to spend 'most authentic' holiday season as pandemic strips off excesses: Google

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2020 08:55 AM

Customers shop for Christmas decorations in Quezon City, amid the general community quarantine in Metro Manila, with 96 days left before Christmas Day on September 20, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Filipinos are likely to spend the "most authentic" holiday season this year as the coronavirus pandemic limited movements and as consumers forego of "excesses" during the period, a Google official has said. 

People have become more "connected" as well as more focused in searching and buying essentials online instead of commercial items such as apparels or accessories, said Google Head of Sales (Apps and E-commerce) Samuele Saini said during the DIGICON OMNI 2020.

Many workers have seen a reduced income, some lost their jobs as restrictions were imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Despite the economic impact of the pandemic, people still search about the holidays and how to spend it with family, Saini said.

"Probably this would be one of the most authentic festival seasons and Christmas season in the last few years, so maybe it’s not the season to really push through with those excesses or the commerciality," he said.

"It’s really more authentic, more connected and more emphatic, I would say on what is the current situation, with many people out of jobs, with many people with international concerns… people may want to celebrate a different way compared to previous years," he added.

At least 56 percent of connected Filipinos also purchased more household supplies since many have more time to fix and clean their homes.

Saini said searches for online shopping, online banking and digital banking have also "accelerated" during the quarantine period.

During the onset of the lockdown, Filipinos searched for loan reprieve, emergency loan and delivery services. After sometime, the trend changed to baking, ingredients, recipes, bills payment and money transfers.

Based on Google's data, Filipinos also spend more time at home cooking, increasing related searches for DIY recipes, Saini said. 

Filipinos turn to baking during quarantine 

Chief marketing officer of e-Commerce platform Lazada Neil Trinidad agreed that Filipinos have become more interested in cooking, specifically baking during the last few months. 

Consumers are buying 6x more bakeware, Trinidad said during the virtual conference.

"Consumers are changing what they’re buying online. One category stood out and that’s bakeware, I don’t know if you discovered new baking skills during the lockdown... or selling online," he said.

Aside from bakeware, online grocery shopping has also grown 15x, masks sales 10x and laptops 5x, he said.

Online payments also grew 2x while livestream views grew 3x as more Filipinos engage in "shoppertainment" on the platform, he said. 

Trinidad said these trends were likely to continue even when the pandemic is contained.

"More and more people are now realizing that they can buy what they’re looking for online without having to leave their homes. To be honest, I don’t think it’s going to slow down. Across all categories, I believe growth will continue," he said.

Lazada vowed to help MSME's recover by giving consumers "bigger deals" in the upcoming 11.11 and 12.12 sale events.

Although cash-strapped Filipinos are likely to become more frugal in spending this holiday season, Facebook Philippines earlier said that holiday sales could rack up more in terms of cumulative sales this year as consumers held off purchases until great deals are offered.

Lazada holds its biggest sale events 11.11 and 12.12 during the last 2 months of the year.