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Global technology company Visa is confident that digital transactions in the Philippines will continue to improve after a study showed that more Filipinos shopped online for the first time last year, according to a report by Manila Times.

Visa Country Manager for the Philippines and Guam Dan Wolbert said the firm’s latest Consumer Payment Attitudes study showed that more Filipinos started to go on digital commerce platforms and make cashless payments in 2020.

“More Filipinos are using e-commerce for the first time to make purchases. This admittedly is a new habit for many Filipinos,” he emphasized.

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According to the study, 52 percent of Filipinos shopped online through apps and websites for the first time during the pandemic, and 43 percent of them made their first online purchase using social media channels.

Online shopping activity also expanded in the past one year as close to 9 in 10 Filipinos increased their online shopping activities on websites or apps, while 7 in 10 were shopping more on social media channels.

More than half of the consumers surveyed were also more likely to shop from large online marketplaces (53 percent) and home- based businesses (61 percent).

The study also showed a large user base who started ordering home delivery, likely due to lockdowns or restrictions. More than 9 in 10 Filipinos used home delivery in the Philippines and 67 percent of them increased their use of home delivery services.

The Visa study also revealed that the number of Filipinos who used cash as mode of payment were fewer compared to the prepandemic period.

“Prepandemic, 7 out of 10 payments of the respondents were made with cash, and currently that number shifted down to only 5 out of 10 payments,” Wolbert added.

He said Filipinos cited using more contactless payments (73 percent), perceiving cash as unsafe because of the potential spread of infection (54 percent) and more places adopting digital payments (50 percent) as the top reasons for carrying less cash.

In addition, the study reported Filipinos seeing bill payments (81 percent), grocery shopping (71 percent) and overseas travel (68 percent) as the top categories where they would likely go completely cashless in the future.

The study also showed that contactless payments had a 66-percent increase in usage among current users due to the pandemic. In addition, 88 percent of Filipinos who had not used contactless payments stated interest in using this payment method in the future.

Taking into consideration the latest study results, Wolbert said Visa believes that the adoption of e-commerce and digital payments will continue to thrive.

“We believe as more people start using digital commerce and platforms, they will embrace the benefits of shopping online, which will lead to continued growth in e-commerce,” he added.

The study was conducted in August and September 2020 through online questionnaires in key areas such as Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Baguio City, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cagayan de Oro and Davao del Sur, among others. Visa interviewed a total of 1014 Filipinos for the study.


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