An hour before I sat down to write this piece, I was on my phone, flicking my thumb at a carousel of wrist watches on Shopee.
See, I’ve been “watchless” for days because the strap on my el cheapo Casio decided to break itself into two. I know of a place where I can get a replacement for it but I really don’t have the time (I swear I’ll get it fixed soon).
In the meantime though, I thought maybe this was a good time to buy a new one. I’m not looking for anything fancy anyway, any reliable (and inexpensive) alternative will do. It’s good to have a backup watch.
State of Online Shopping in the Philippines
So just like the millions of Pinoys nowadays buying a ton of stuff online through apps like Shopee and Lazada, I spent a few minutes checking what’s available—comparing prices, reading reviews (I always check the ones with photos), and adding potential candidates to my cart.
After narrowing my picks to two, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on a silver Casio with a black strap. In my experience, I usually receive my orders within 3-4 days. Pleased with the result, I tossed my phone away to sit down and write this article.
Welcome to the state of online shopping in the Philippines.
Forget the long queues at the mall’s cashier. Say goodbye to nerve-wracking traffic. Today, if you need something, your fingers will do all the walking.
This article from E-Shop World contains some pretty cool stats about the trends in Philippine eCommerce:
- Number of Filipino Online Shoppers: 37.75 million (2018)
- Total E-commerce revenue: USD 1.49 billion (2018)
- Top product being purchased online: Electronics and Media (USD $618.6)
- Top Payment Method: Cash on Delivery (47%)
- Second most preferred payment method: Bank transfer (42%)
- Top importing country: China (USD $29.8 billion)
- Digital advertising budget: USD $385 million
And based on Hootsuite + We Are Social’s study on digital trends in the Southeast Asia region, here are the annual amount spent on consumer e-commerce categories:
- Fashion & Beauty: $207.2 Million (+32%)
- Electronics & Physical Media: $543 Million (+15%)
- Food & Personal Care: $94.8 Million (+38%)
- Furniture & Appliances: $119.6 Million (+22%)
- Toys, DIY & Hobbies: $272.1 Million (+27%)
- Travel & Accommodation: $642.6 Million (+30%)
- Digital Music: $12.9 Million (+17%)
- Video Games: $270.2 Million (+12%)
Top 20 Online Shopping Sites in the Philippines
Yup—online shopping is huuuge in the Philippines (and it’s consistently growing at an incredible pace).
And there seems to be no stopping its growth anytime soon. Let’s now take a look at which sites have the most command over our digital shopping wallets.
Category: Shopping portal
The most popular online shopping site in the country draws millions of customers each day.
And for a good reason: You can buy a whole lot of stuff in there, from smartphones and gadgets to wardrobe and apparel, household items to school supplies.
The site is a catalyst for boosting the growth of ecommerce in the Philippines.
Category: Buy and Sell
Formerly known as Sulit.PH—the site is most known as a middleman for buying and selling pre-loved items.
Category: Shopping portal
In the last few years, Shopee gained a massive increase in user base which allowed it to inch closer to Lazada in terms of popularity.
One thing I personally noticed is there seems to be more options in here compared to Lazada when it comes to more common, everyday items. Their HQ is located in Singapore.
4. Cebu Pacific
The airline which popularized “Piso Fare”, continuously get massive amount of traffic from people looking to fulfill their #travelgoals
Category: Clothing and Apparel
Perhaps the best site to visit if you’re looking for clothing items. They carry both local and imported items. And yes, they offer COD too.
One word: Vouchers! Filipinos love a good deal, so sites like Metrodeals and others are a godsend for those looking to save some money on their purchases
Category: Buy and Sell/Shopping portal
eBay is one of the pioneers in the internet when it comes to ecommerce. The Philippine site offers both brand new and used items. The site accepts payments via PayPal.
Category: Electronics and Media/Toys, hobbies, DIY
There was a time when burning CDs and DVDs was an actual thing.
And when it comes to the best (read: cheapest) place to cop your blank CD/DVD for your next “Alternative 90’s” compilation CD, it was here.
They eventually sold all sorts of gadgets and devices which made them a popular go-to for anyone looking for cheap (electronics) stuff.
Category: Shopping portal
I first heard of this site years ago when someone in a forum asked where to buy a pair of Audio Technica M40 headphones (before it was made available here).
Their tagline is, “Buy products not in the Philippines”. They basically act as middleman to make shopping for items usually only available abroad easier for Pinoys.
Category: Computers and Electronics
One of the biggest sites in the country when it comes to computer parts and accessories. They have been around for quite some time now.
11. Deal Grocer
Similar to Metrodeal, the site offers discounted daily deals on services and packages (hotel accommodations, spa and relaxation services, restaurants, retail products and more).
Category: Real Estate/land properties
The site to visit if you’re looking to shop or rent for real estate (condo, house and lot, apartment, etc)
If Lamudi was for real estate, Carmudi is for cars and autos. They serve as an online hub for searching deals for both new and used vehicles.
It’s a site where you can buy or sell new or used cars. They also feature new car promos complete with all the details including the down payment and monthly amortization prices.
Category: Real estate/land properties
Check out this site if you’re looking for a place (condo/townhouse/house & lot) to rent or own.
Featuring an online fan base of over 2 million, Kimstore has risen from its humble roots to being one of the top destinations for people shopping for gadgets and smartphones at bang-for-the-buck prices.
This is the e-commerce segment of Globe, where they use it as a platform for selling their plans, products, and packages.
Category: Buy and Sell
Primarily a place for selling and buying pre-loved items, the site now also provides new products to choose from.
Category: Ticketing Service
Ticketnet Online has been around since 1995. They’re one of the pioneers of e-commerce in the country and the leading ticketing company in the Philippines.
Category: Electronics and Gadgets
The site aims to be “the leading tech destination in the Philippines”. They have a nice selection of items ranging from GoPros to smartphones, and feature popular brands like Sony, Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, JBL, and others.
Complete List of Online Shopping & Ecommerce Sites in the Philippines
- eBay PH
- Great Value Plus
- Goods PH
- Hallo Hallo
- One Store
- Shop Local
Electronics and Physical Media:
Apparel, Fashion, & Beauty:
- Pink Manila
- Little Emily
- Saturday Dress
- Sephora PH
- Human Nature
- Watch Portal
- Hey Jow
Freelance & Professional Services
Home Furnishings / Interior Design:
Pros and Cons of Shopping Online
Simply whip out your phone (or laptop) and start shopping. No need to go through that horrible traffic, bad weather, and long queues. Saves you a lot of time and effort.
Since there are a ton of online sellers fighting for your shopping money, prices tend to be better online. Also, the lack of the physical space (which means they don’t need to pay for rent and personnel) allows them to operate at much lower costs overall allowing them to price their goods lower (win-win)
Since you don’t need to physically visit a store, here’s what you won’t experience: traffic and hunger. No need to shell out money for commute or gas, you’ll also avoid the inevitable pang of hunger that strikes after all that walking outside.
More choices to choose from
A simple search for a wrist watch (which I did earlier) will yield you dozens of results—and that’s just from a single store. The choices are endless when it comes to online shopping.
Shopping and sending gifts is dead easy
Want to gift your lolo in the province a fedora hat for his birthday? After choosing and paying for it online, simply use his address for delivery. A painless and uber-easy way of sending love to the people you care about.
All it takes to move from one store to another is a single click or swipe. You can literally price shop from a dozen stores in under a minute. Can you do that in a mall? No, I didn’t think so.
Discounts and vouchers
One of the best things about online shopping is the seemingly endless promotional offers and discounts from the websites—all to entice you to buy from their shop. They also regularly run flash sales that slash regular prices down further. And don’t forget vouchers!
Say goodbye to long queues
Had to squeeze this one in because I personally hate long lines at the cashier. Not that I’m impatient, I just feel like waiting in line for 30 minutes to pay for a single item is not a good use of my time.
Shop anytime, anywhere 24/7
I know someone who’s favorite pastime is to “window shop” in Shopee (always ends up buying something—not good for her wallet I imagine). But this just goes to show that you can literally shop anytime and anywhere online, all you need is a phone/laptop and an internet connection.
One of the great things about these online sites is that customers can provide feedback on a certain product. This is quite helpful when checking out if a seller and their product is legit. Also, some customers make recommendations after they purchase, so it’s like getting free advice on the item’s pros and cons, which is extremely helpful.
No pressure shopping
Whenever I go past the underwear section in SM I almost always get the usual, “Sir sale tayo ngayon sa (insert brand name here) baka gusto niyo. To which I always reply, “Ay thank you miss pass muna”. Sometimes, I won’t go inside a store if I’m the only customer. I don’t want to be “pressured” by the clerk into buying (I just want to take a look).
Sometimes, you have to buy something that can be a bit intimidating to buy outside. With online shopping, you can easily make the purchase without breaking a sweat
Can’t try stuff on
Buying clothes is especially tricky, though there’s usually a size chart for reference
Delivery takes days (depends on the courier and location)
Sometimes, it’s faster to buy stuff from physical stores. Especially if you need it ASAP
After-sales support is usually unsatisfactory
Unfortunately, I noticed that most after-sales support from online stores are just plain terrible. Just take a look at some of the comments/feedbacks online and you’ll see what I mean
Hard to determine actual size, material and color of the item
Not being able to touch and see the items makes it difficult to determine its actual make. I’ve seen plenty of feedback online where customers say the color/material used is different from the stock photo/description.
8 Tips for safe online shopping
1. Shop at secure sites only
The “S” you see in “HTTPS” and the lock icon beside it (on the address bar) are indicators if a site follows Google’s protocols for a secure website.
Note that this does not mean any site is secure as long as it has both these—it’s just one quick way of gauging if a site is legit and safe.
2. Use strong passwords
I can’t recommend this enough. Too many people fall into the (lazy) trap of using the same password (or just making slight modifications on it) across several sites.
While this makes logging in for your easier, you also make it easier for hackers.
3. Update your software (OS)
It’s a never-ending chase between hackers/viruses and software makers.
A missed update for Windows, for example, can expose you to potentially nasty backdoor programs that can scan and steal your personal info.
Same is true for smartphones. Be safe, update as needed especially if it’s a security update.
4. Be wary of scams
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Phishing (where someone sends you an email that looks legit to get your information) is rampant these days.
If you really want to get some discounts, for example, look around within the site itself—there’s plenty of offers in there already.
5. Be careful when connecting to public Wifi hotspots
What most people don’t know is how easy it is for hackers to set up a public wifi hotspot so they can grab your private info when you log in and use it.
Even when not shopping online, you should be mindful of free wifi connections.
6. Beware of sites asking for too much personal information
Do you remember a time when you had to input your SSS/TIN/Driver’s license on a shopping site or something similar?
Per my experience, never. If a site requires you to key in more than the usual amount of info, be doubtful.
7. Use legit/official versions of apps (and update them often)
Same with your computer/smartphone’s operating system, apps get updated too.
And for our purposes, it’s usually best to update to the latest version to ensure the security of transactions.
8. Use passcodes/passwords to secure your device
A huge chunk of users are shopping via their mobile phones.
For security purposes, make sure to have some sort of password protection should you (unfortunately) lose your phone–this will help prevent others from shopping on your behalf.
Did we miss your favorite online store? Tell us in the comment section below!