By: Philippine Daily Inquirer
Perhaps the most glaringly apparent trend is the digital shift spurred on by the pandemic. As the region went into lockdown in the first half of 2020, brick-and-mortar shops were forced to shutter and entire businesses closed down—in the Philippines alone over 2,000 establishments went out of business.
What followed was a huge move online: the Philippines saw a 77-percent year-on-year increase in online shopping in June, according to data from Google. Thanks in part to the pandemic, many Southeast Asians completely skipped the “desktop phase” and became mobile users, comments Alessio Romeni, Zalora’s chief revenue officer.
With this technological advancement came other phenomena, such as the wider use of e-wallets in the region. Though Filipinos still prefer cash on delivery, digital wallets and bank transfers are gaining traction in Indonesia and Malaysia—even hawker stalls in Singapore are adopting online payment methods.
The region’s online economy is expected to be worth $300 million by 2025, more than thrice the 2018 value, according to Bain & Co., a consultancy.
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