The Continued Evolution and Influence of the Philippines’ Online Market
The Internet penetration in the Philippines continues to grow, with increased access allowing users to influence different markets, and businesses having to constantly update their online strategies and be wary of changing trends.
It is by now well understood by companies who take their businesses seriously that an online presence is key in both cornering the market and establishing the ideal brand image. Gone are the days when simply having a website was a good enough strategy, as just like how demand dictates the market, it is also the online users who shape the Internet and its innovations.
The Philippines is no different. The country possesses roughly 45 million Internet users who spend an average of over 6 hours daily on their personal computers, and around 3.5 hours on mobile, despite the country’s not-so-great Internet speeds. This 45 million is the same online market influencing the way companies market their offerings online.
As connectivity options grow, so too does the market
In a report by global agency We Are Social, it was said that the Philippine’s Internet penetration stood at 44 percent in January 2015, and was expected to pass 50 percent before the year was over. In the long term, the country’s internet penetration had increased some 630 percent since 2008, a testament to Filipinos’ penchant for online interaction, research, and commerce.
This demand for convenience and connectivity has driven communications providers to further the internet penetration in the country, be it by different internet and mobile services options, and increasing choices and affordability in smartphones, laptops, and other devices. As technologies advance and more people gain access, so too continues the expansion of the all-important online market. All this, without even touching on the different platforms users find themselves on, and how each changes and evolves and can be used.
Whether by way of smartphones or personal computer, there continues to be an increase in internet users in the Philippines, all of which go online to conduct business, make transactions, and interact socially with others.
Buying, selling, and marketing by interaction
English entrepreneur Michael Aldrich is credited for inventing online shopping in 1979, with an initial system that connected to a modified domestic TV and a real-time transaction processing computer via a domestic telephone line. In the almost four decades since the revolutionary innovation, the Philippines and the rest of the world had seen the rise of different online commerce sites. The most notable locally are Zalora and Lazada, both already synonymous with online shopping in the country.
In the time that Internet penetration began being very significant in the country, the Philippines also saw a change in the online platforms being favored by its users. Expectedly, social media was most contributory to the increased demand in connectivity, with Facebook and Twitter being launched to the public in 2006. It is though these venue which people became more connected, keeping in touch with childhood friends, relatives, and past acquaintances which they can’t get to see quite as often.
These have been the foundations of particular online trends today. Business and marketing which was not traditionally conducted online for the longest period has found its place online, continuing to reach out to a market that it would have otherwise not reached via traditional means. More so, brand awareness and client relations continue to be built by “staying in touch,” with customers getting to know about the companies behind the products they buy just as much as the companies get to know them and their product preferences.
Nowadays, there’s a listing for almost anything online, so businesses now have go beyond placing product catalogs on the internet, and also bank on apps and social media to better reach and serve their clientele.
Both major and minor companies continue to offer commerce and customer service on their websites. Now, however, it has also become par for the course to include mobile apps in their online avenues, on top of maintaining official social media accounts for their brands, with convenience and customer/user experience continues to be the driver of online marketing strategies.
To an extent, new businesses have been created and industries revolutionized thanks to the proliferation of the internet in the Philippines. The resulting mobile apps born out of concepts like Uber and GrabCar, despite the opposition it is presently receiving from some local transport groups, has changed the way commuter go about their travels in the city. It has seemingly made it more convenient, and has provided several vehicle owners with a means to make an extra-living.
In its Real Estate Market Report for 2015, Lamudi Philippines recounted how a 2014 survey conducted by the real estate platform had 88 percent of real estate brokers confirming that the internet was frequented for house hunting, and that the future of the industry online. Another survey conducted in 2015 found that 91 percent of all real estate professionals experienced an increase in real estate inquiries made via online means.
In as a little less than a decade ago, online listings platforms were unheard of, as buy and sell websites were geared more towards products that could be transported and a lot less expensive. The existence of online marketplaces for industries as complex and unpredictable as real estate serves as a testament to the continued trend of businesses moving more and more into the online arena, and revolutionizing it and their own trades in the process.
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