M-commerce (mobile commerce) in the Philippines is rapidly growing due to the increasing penetration of smartphones among a young, digitally-connected population, according to Euromonitor International. The London-based market intelligence firm expects m-commerce to reach US$9 million in the Philippines and Thailand by 2018. Analysts said the booming industry that is business process outsourcing Philippines is also driving the growth of m-commerce in the country. The sector employs more than one million Filipinos that mostly work graveyard shifts, giving them little time to shop. The 24/7 nature of m-commerce, large vendor variety, and better payment options make shopping more convenient for BPO Philippines employees.
More than 50 percent of visitors to online shopping service Lazada come from mobile platforms, and banks are claiming their share of the m-commerce market with mobile banking applications. Consumers are also rapidly using transport sector mobile apps like Uber and Easy Taxi, according to research firm IDC.
Lazada CEO and co-founder Inanc Balci reported that while mobile phone penetration in the Philippines remains one of the lowest in Asia, it is nonetheless growing faster than other countries. Smartphone penetration is expected to reach 50 percent in 2015.
"We see two issues driving this; one is telco companies are investing more and making internet available in more places in the Philippines but at the same time smartphone prices are going down, partly because local brands are bringing better and cheaper smartphones into the market," added Balci.