Getting into the Philippine E-Commerce Market

Getting into the Philippine E-Commerce Market

Looking to make a big splash in Philippine e-commerce? To inform your game plan, take a good look at the opportunities and obstacles for growth in this fledgling but high potential market.


The landscape at a glance


Data from Statista reveals that out of over 100 million in the population, there are over 69 million internet users. About 75 percent of these users are shopping online. These figures are expected to keep increasing. With public and private efforts to improve internet access, Philippine e-commerce is on its way to becoming one of the country’s most profitable markets. From 2016 to 2019, the number of online shoppers increased by over 10 million and industry experts are expecting the same increase by 2022.


Yet e-commerce represents less than 1 percent of total sales in the country. This is in contrast to more mature markets in the Southeast Asian region. Delivering goods also comes as a challenge. The Philippines is an archipelago comprised of 2,000 inhabited islands. With varying terrain and underdeveloped roads in most areas, delivering parcels can be a logistical nightmare.


Despite these initial setbacks, there is immense opportunity to capitalize on this growing market. Some early leaders, like Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora, are some of the prominent names you’ll see. Long established banks, like Banco de Oro and Metrobank, are making moves to get a slice of the e-commerce pie through digital banking platforms. Even e-commerce giants Alibaba and Amazon are getting in on the action.


Next steps to take


  1. Brainstorm and sharpen your business idea
    The e-commerce playing field is wide and it pays to know where consumers are spending their money. According to 2019 data, the following are at the top: 


    • Travel ($3.5 billion)
    • Electronic goods and physical media ($234 million)
    • Fashion and beauty products ($203 million)
    • Furniture and appliances ($148 million)
    • Toys, hobbies ($128 million)
    • Food and personal care ($127 million)
      • For the fastest growing categories:
    • Food and personal care (+29%)
    • Toys, hobbies (+24%)
    • Electronic goods and physical media (+23%)
    • Furniture and appliances (+21%)
    • Fashion and beauty products (+17%)
    • Video games (+20%)
  2. Register your business
    Once you zero in on a specific product or service, business registration should be the next big step. To register a single proprietorship go to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Corporations and partnerships are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 
  3. Build your website and spread the word
    To successfully create an online presence for your e-commerce business, your website or online platform should be: 


      • Appealing and relevant – Nobody wants to see bad design and irrelevant content on a website.
    • Intuitive and accessible – You should aim for easy platform navigation and hassle-free online transactions. Ideally, you should also ensure your site is optimized for both desktop and mobile platforms.

E-commerce is increasingly becoming a priority area. A few years ago, DTI released its 2016-2020 e-commerce roadmap, and unveiled an updated 2020-2022 plan in 2019.
What aspects of Philippine e-commerce would you like to know more about? Send us a message at [email protected] or call +63.917.8922337 (Philippines). and FilePino experts will gladly fill you in.