E-commerce boom, 2020 forecast headline Web Wednesdays comeback

The Internet & Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP)’s online series Web Wednesdays returned last April 1, featuring timely insights on digital shopping select trend from Neil Trinidad, Country Chief Marketing Officer of Lazada Philippines, and the premiere of The Future 100: 2020  insights from Pam Garcia, Executive Strategic Planning Director of Wunderman Thompson Philippines.

“The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is fundamentally changing how we shop,” said Trinidad. “We assume that after this it will be the new normal with more people looking to online shopping as their channel of choice.” 

Lazada’s data showed that prior to the ECQ, sales for masks, first aid supplies, milk formulas, and cleaning materials increased by at least 200% and as much as 570%. They also saw a rise in aircon and air purifier purchases, which they credit to work-at-home preparations.

But prior to the current increase in digital transactions, online shopping festivals such as the recent 11-11 and 12-12 sales have already gathered new users and bigger purchases than ever before. Trinidad said that it was a sign that consumers are becoming more at ease with digital transactions at a rate that is faster than expected.

“For the first time we saw over a million online shoppers on the platform in the very first hour,” he said, noting highlights such as 13 million diapers sold, a single shopping cart with Php 1.2 million worth of goods, and almost 350 pre-ordered cars..

With around 92% of urban Filipinos shopping online, Trinidad expects tech-aided shopping to continuously evolve.

“Shopping in the new economy is empowering, is entertaining, and lastly is meaningful,” said Trinidad. With less buying friction through technology, buyers are empowered to make their preferred purchases with interactive experiences. They also tend to engage more with the buying platform if they are engaged through games and livestreams. COVID-19 has also seen meaningful shifts from brands and online markets to digital payment platforms in driving donations, and the system will likely continue after ECQ.

In a study done before the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were foreseen to be optimistic about the future.

“The past years have left societies across the world adrift in unsettling political, economic and environmental times. Consumers have been feeling more anxious than ever,” Garcia quoted from The Future 100: 2020. “Now there is a role for brands to provide a realistic but optimistic outlook for a reassuring future. We all need that now at this point.”

In discussing select trends from the annual report, Garcia pointed out select barriers and drivers for consumers. One barrier for Optimistic Futures, for example, is a Gen Z consumer’s difficulty to share that outlook because her parents keep comparing their generation to her’s. A driver for another consumer, in this case, is that mental health awareness is increasing among people.

Other trends discussed by Garcia were Anti-bullying Gaming and Singles Lexicon. The former is a drive for online gaming to be free from violence and harassment. In the Philippines, she noted that the trash talk culture is still strong, but efforts to keep the online space a safe space are being driven by influencers and gaming personalities according to their research. Singles Lexicon, on the other hand, is reframing the lack of a relationship as a strength, which also translates to purchasing choices. While some Filipinos see being single as a sad situation, there is a rise in the number of people who think otherwise.

Looking at select trends with Gen Z consumers in focus, seamless and cashless is the preferred purchasing experience.  Their generation is the most connected, noted Garcia, and will most likely be strong in the convictions they pick up such as environment friendliness or veganism. Markets, she said, should be ready to make these consumers feel considered.

Web Wednesdays, produced by IMMAP, Certified Digital Marketer, and ABS-CBN discusses different digital marketing topics in the Philippines. The next session on April 22, at 6pm, will cover digital consumer behavior in times of crisis.

Register here.