NEW NORMAL. Most Filipino shoppers highly consider convenience and price when deciding on what to purchase, according to a recent survey by Facebook's Emerging Trends Research. Facebook Philippines country director John Rubio said in a digital presentation on Tuesday (April 13, 2021) that more products offering convenience are certain to emerge soon. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The online presence of businesses proved most useful during the pandemic as physical restrictions continue to be observed.

Facebook's Emerging Trends Research showed that marketers who were able to pivot digitally amid the health crisis gained profits and it is more likely that consumers will continue to choose online shopping for their convenience.

The study indicated 87 percent of respondents are willing to spend more for ease of access to products or services.

About 12,500 people across 14 countries, including the Philippines, were studied for changes in consumer behavior in 2020.

Among Philippines-based respondents, 93 percent said they highly consider convenience and price when deciding on what to purchase.

“Research tells us that we should draw inspiration from the fact that for most consumers, the best journey is no journey at all. And by putting your customer first, you can eliminate friction, inspire discovery, and maybe even set a new standard in convenience,” Facebook Philippines country director John Rubio said during a virtual presentation on Tuesday.

Live selling

Live Selling, a rising Facebook trend where a business sells auction-style or an inventory show-and-tell in real-time through Facebook or Instagram Live, also gained steam in recent months, with one in four people surveyed having browsed such activity on social media.

The research showed that 87 percent of Filipino respondents said that social media allowed them to interact more and deepen their relationship with brands.

Respondents in the Philippines were described in the study as adventurous shoppers, with 80 percent interested in trying new and different ways of shopping.

Often done in an entertaining fashion with real-time questions and answers, promotions, and games, Live Shopping had 85 percent of respondents say they expect the experience to increase this year.

Upgrading the marketplace

Preference for payment modes and where to shop is largely fueled by convenience, with 90 percent of respondents opting for mobile payments should they be made more available.

The same percentage of those surveyed also wished shopping from their mobile phones was easier.

In an interview, Rubio said in the coming months, Facebook will launch more tools to create a level of convenience that will continue to satisfy consumers, particularly on payment options.

"Over the next year, more products that will offer convenience will be launched. Such as showing inventory faster, completing a sale much faster than what we do today, and incorporating in shops to make transactions," he said.

High hopes

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has recorded a significant increase in online business registrations in 2020.

Records from March 16 to August 31, the height of lockdowns last year, showed 73,276 online businesses registered.

Experts said the online economy will outlive the pandemic and continue in the new normal.

The possibilities opened by the Internet for businesses will make it difficult to live in the new normal without them, they said.

“The online platform economy can indeed catalyze inclusive growth but we need to get the government to make that happen, especially in developing countries such as the Philippines,” Philippine Competition Commission chair Arsenio Balisacan said in previous reports.

Asian Development Bank chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada also said in previous interviews that e-commerce accelerated during the pandemic.

“I think there’s going to be a permanent impact of digitalization and I think there are lots of positive aspects because online platforms can enhance market functioning and there’s a huge potential to make transactions more inclusive,” he said. (PNA)