A large majority (92%) of Filipinos postponed big ticket purchases during this pandemic period and instead spent most of their time socializing with family over social media and online streaming shows, according to the latest survey by a world’s leading logistics giant.        

Marianne Mendoza, head marketing UPS for Indonesia and Philippines, presented the Global Index Survey by UPS at the US-ASEAN Business Council UPS SME Workshop: Digital Transformation, Business Resilience and Thriving in the New Normal. The survey aimed to gauge consumer behavior to help small and medium enterprises cope with the new consumer behavior after the pandemic and how they affect the retail industry.

08112020 OFW ROMERO 2 1024x683 - Majority of Pinoy’s postpone big purchases during pandemic – UPS
(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Mendoza cited the need to understand what has been happening in the retail industry to be able to understand opportunities and behavior of future customers. She noted that before the survey or before the pandemic, there were lots of big retailers looking at expanding in the Philippines.

Based on the survey, 92 percent of Filipinos were delaying big purchases such as cars and home appliances or going on holidays during the pandemic. The survey also said that 55 percent of Filipinos are also cutting back on day to day things that they buy or are looking for cheaper versions or products of alternative brands.

Instead of spending for these big-ticket items, Filipinos chose to socialize as a family. Based on the UPS survey, the most prevalent behavior or 65 percent of Filipino consumers were spending more time socializing as a family.  As much as 64 percent of survey respondents said they spent more time on social media and watching news coverages while 63 percent said they are watching more shows and streaming services.

“So, we see there is a lot that have engaged using digital platform already,” said Mendoza.

Based on the UPS research, businesses stated the pandemic has obviously accelerated the migration of sales from brick and mortar to online channels.

While its presurvey showed that many big retailers were looking at expanding in ASEAN, their decisions may also factor in the maturity of digitalization of countries not just in the region but to a wider Asia Pacific.

Based on the Global Index survey, China still stood out to be the digital leader while South Korea, Singapore, Japan and Australia are considered matured followers where digital disruption in market maturity is still high. Indonesia, Vietnam and India are categorized as fast modernizers while the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand are still developing.

“So, understanding the level of digitalization all of these markets can help  you in your future steps,” Mendoza told participants, who are mostly small and medium enterprises and exporters.

Mendoza said there are also five imperatives for the retail industry in Asia Pacific after this pandemic. First is to reinvent your value proposition because the survey also showed that 70 to 80 percent of ecommerce will be done through mobile phones.

This should lead to the second imperative to always go for an “eyeball” with customers through their preferred online format. The other imperatives are future proof your assets, ensure last mile or supply chain resilience because meeting their products is the utmost priority, define your ecosystem destination in a marketplace where you want to play in, and retool for digital to acquire new skills to realize new potentials such as AI and robotics.

“All these will play in the future of retail to thrive, not just grow, in the evolving retail environment where our customers are also evolving in a very fast pace,” she concluded.

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