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Online shopping and Ecommerce sites have been on the rise in the past few years. And with the recent covid-19 pandemic, more Filipinos are leveraging the ability to purchase goods online.
Thousands of businesses were forced to close during the onslaught of covid-19. Restaurants, shopping centers, supermarkets, malls, fast-food stalls, and more — places where we used to buy our stuff from have been either temporarily or permanently shut down because of the pandemic.
So we looked for the next best (and safe) alternative: online shopping.
Thanks to these ecommerce sites and online sellers, we were able to obtain essential goods and products that became difficult to purchase during the lockdown.
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, OLX, 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 (2018) 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%)
An online survey of more than 13,000 thousand respondents conducted by Rakuten Insight in May 2020 revealed that more Filipinos purchased online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
From the poll, 41% of the respondents stated they made more online purchases while only 20% said that they didn’t make any purchases online.
The lockdown greatly reduced our ability to purchase products at physical stores and outlets like restaurants, supermarkets, and malls.
This, however, helped boost e-commerce transactions for food, products, and services by a significant amount. It also caused an uptick in the creation of digital wallet accounts and cashless transactions.
Types of Ecommerce Business Models in the Philippines
The type of Ecommerce business model is determined by who is buying or selling.
A seller can be an individual or a company, and the same goes for customers. There are also some business models that cater to both, allowing them to sell to individual consumers and other businesses at the same time.
In this section, we’ll take a brief look at these various ecommerce business models so we can better understand how they conduct their business.
The “classic” retail business model where we, the individual customers, purchase goods and services from certain brands and companies.
When people think of running their own business, a Business-to-Customer model is most commonly adopted.
In a Business-to-Business (B2B) business model, the customer is another business.
For example, you run a company that sells software for managing sales and invoice for supermarkets and similar establishments. In this case, you are running a B2B model since you’re not selling to individual customers but to other businesses instead.
In this business model, individuals sell products and services to other individuals directly.
Most beginner Customer-to-customer businesses start by selling on various platforms like FB Marketplace, Carousell, Craigslist, and others. Later, they might want to have their own platform for selling and start building their own website.
The customer-to-business model operates exactly how it sounds like: individuals are the ones selling products and services to businesses.
The most popular example are freelancers offering their skills and talents to large companies or small. Or you can be a supplier of raw material that companies use in their business.
Mixed Business Models
A mixed business model essentially combines both the B2C and B2B format. For example, you own a business that sells retail goods directly to customers yet at the same time offer wholesale pricing on bulk orders to other companies.
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.
Category: Buy & Sell
With more than 72 million users as of April 2020, the Philippines remains one of the top countries with the most number of citizens using Facebook.
This makes FB Marketplace a strong platform for Filipinos to buy and sell all sorts of products and services. It’s free to use, there are no fees required to post your merchandise. The massive user-base and ease-of-use made it a go-to platform for millions of Pinoys looking to sell and purchase products.
5. 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: 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
They facilitate transactions for various products and services between the seller and buyer. It allows sellers to post items and services that they offer so buyers can easily browse and pick.
Customers can message the sellers directly for inquiries via the platform. Popular local examples include Carousell and FB Marketplace.
- Facebook Marketplace
- eBay PH
- Great Value Plus
- Goods PH
- One Store
- Shop Local
- CartGo PH
- MustBuy PH
Online Shopping Portals
These are sites that act as a platform for selling products from 3rd-party physical and e-commerce stores. Lazada and Shopee are the most popular examples locally.
- The SM Store
- Robinsons Department Store
- Galleon PH
- ShopBack PH
- O Shopping
- Shop TV
- Roots Collective PH
- The Nest Genie
Most are popular brick-and-mortar supermarkets and dedicated e-commerce shops that offer customers the ability to shop and grocery items and have them delivered straight to your home.
An online grocer is either a brick-and-mortar supermarket or grocery store that allows online ordering, or a standalone e-commerce service that includes grocery items. There is usually a delivery charge for this service.
- SM Markets
- GrocerGenie PH
- Pushkart PH
- Shop Suki
- Fresh Finds Manila
- The Green Grocer
- Karton PH
- Gourmet Direct
- Fresh Mart PH
- The Superfood Grocer
- Lee Plaza Groceries
- Palengke Boy
Food & Beverage
These are restaurants and food establishments that offer online ordering services and delivery. It also includes wholesalers and resellers who sell all sorts of raw or ready-made food products and ingredients.
- Beep it
- Foodsource PH
- Fruits in Bloom
- Boozy PH
- Rare Food Shop
- FreshProduce PH
- Pacific Bay
- Real Food
- Paleo Manila
- Bigas Online
- The Meat Market PH
- Lifestyle Gourmet Market
- Porter’s Pantry PH
- Gerald PH
- Mr. Gulay
- Delidrop PH
- Big Cheeks PH
- Bigas PH
Online pharmacies let you order medicine, medical supplies and medical devices via website or app. You have the choice to pick up the items yourself or have it delivered to your home for a fee.
- Mercury Drug Gamot Padala
- Southstar Drug
- Aide App
- Mura Med
- Puritan’s Pride
- Rose Pharmacy
- Healthy Habits Philippines
- Nutrition Depot
- Med Express Drugstore
- Med Padala
- Med Grocer
Electronics and Physical Media
They sell various electronic equipment which include gadgets, appliances, smartphones, laptops, and other similar items.
- Robinsons Appliances
- SM Appliance
- Automatic Centre
- Widget City
- Villman Computers
- PC Express
- Benson Computers
Health & Beauty
These stores sell anything from dietary supplements to make-up along with various personal care products for improving one’s health and appearance.
- Prime Life Wellness
- Sephora PH
- Human Nature
- The Naturale Market
- Happy Skin Cosmetics
- Healthy Habits PH
- Supplement Hub
- Whey King Supplements
- Nutrition Depot
Fashion & Apparel
They specialize in various clothing items and accessories. Some stores might sell a specific category (e.g online shoe store, online store that sells hoodies and jackets exclusively, etc.,) only while some might cover a wider product range.
- Pink Manila
- Little Emily
- Saturday Dress
- Watch Portal
- Hey Jow
- Zara PH
- The Lifestyle Store
Home & Family
Their items could range from home improvement and building supplies to all sorts of services and products that make living at home more convenient.
- Babymama PH
- DigitalHome PH
- Electrolux Philippines
- ACE Hardware
- Furniture Manila
- Urban Concepts
Online Bills Payment & Other Financial Services
They serve as gateways to make paying bills and executing various financial transactions easier. They let you make bill payments, deposits, withdraw and transfer money all with a few swipes and clicks from your computer or smartphone.
An online niche shop caters to a specific target market, offering exclusive products and services that you may find hard to look for at other bigger and general stores.
Examples of niches include: toys and collectibles, vape and e-cigs, DIY electronics, car accessories, nutritional supplements, clothing, hand-made items, and more.
These 3rd-party sites let customers book their travel and all related items online. Services include various offers for trips, flights, hotel and accommodation, cars, among others.
The best site to visit if you’re someone looking for the perfect gift. Aside from selling the items themselves, they also typically offer gift-wrap and delivery services.
- Express Regalo
- Island Rose
- Subida Souvenirs
- Flower Delivery PH
- Flowerstore PH
- My Bridesmaid
The site to visit if you’re looking to get discounts, vouchers, and all sorts of related freebies and promos. They showcase these offerings from various stores that offer them currently.
Freelance & Professional Services
They will help you book and hire professional help to manage, fix, or build all sorts of stuff that you don’t have either the time and effort or skills to do yourself. Delivery services, repair and maintenance personnel, and shopping assistants are a few examples.
Most sites you’ll see act as middle-man between people looking to buy or rent a house/condo/apartment/commercial unit and a broker or developer. These sites collate data from various sources so clients can browse and look up different real estate offerings.
For a fee, they let customers rent their equipment and items for a designated amount of time. Examples include photo booths, costumes, sound and lighting systems, and more.
They specialize in making sure your little buddy’s healthy, safe, and well-groomed. They sell mainly pet food and all sorts of accessories and devices to keep your pet safe and comfy.
Pros and Cons of Shopping Online in the Philippines
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.
- Better prices
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)
- Cheaper overall
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.
- Easy price-shopping
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.
- Customer reviews
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!