E-COMMERCE is a new frontier of growth for the Philippines.
According to Ronilo Balbieran, vice president of think-tank Research, Education and Institutional Development (Reid) Foundation, the country is leading in terms of factors that would contribute to the acceleration of the digital economy globally.
“Before the pandemic, we have more mobile phones at 173 million than its people at 108 million. And we are number one in the world in the use of the internet, 10 hours a day. No country can beat the Philippines there,” Balbieran said during the Mandaue Business Summit 2021 hosted by the Mandaue of Chamber and Commerce and Industry on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.
However, he pointed out that Filipinos don’t spend that much because only 20 percent have bank accounts and the country has very slow internet access.
“Imagine if the internet speed would improve and the number of people with bank accounts would increase as well as our digital wallets like Paymaya, Gcash, etc. Imagine the amount of growth that we can have,”he said.
He also cited the 1,000 percent increase in the registration of online businesses as reported by the Department of Trade and Industry that points to a very healthy digital economy just waiting to be fully maximized.
New growth frontiers
Meanwhile, the country’s new growth frontiers in the post-pandemic era are the home, health and hang-outs, Balbieran said.
For instance, home has become an extension of work, school and business. Most of the spending done at the onset of the pandemic was driven by home improvements and renovations.
“No wonder there was a 286 percent increase in construction spending in the private sector,” he said.
Balbieran also noted an increase in the growth of health and medicine, which encompasses diet, organic food, fruits and vegetables and mental health, including the “plant-demic” craze as well as in the hang-outs like in physical shopping, leisure and adventure and networking and socialization activities.
He said once this pandemic is contained and restrictions are lifted businesses should be prepared of the volume of spending once the over 100 million Filipinos return to traveling locally.
“When there is already a go-signal to go out, imagine the amount of that going to particular businesses and the large gatherings. (JOB)