In 2019, the Coronavirus pandemic struck countries worldwide. Even after two years, the Philippines continues to experience uncertainty and turbulence due to new outbreaks of Covid variants. The pandemic significantly changed consumer behavior and spending. Companies are now going head-to-head as they navigate this new landscape and try to impact their bottom line.
Manifestations of consumer change
This change is evident in the accelerated implementation of e-commerce in the country. Philippines׳ Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez commented, “we know the increased adoption of e-commerce over the past year. Our records will show that more and more people are getting into the online business.” Lopez delivered an address during the Sulong Pilipinas 2021: Partners for Progress (a Pre-State of the Nation Address Economic Development and Infrastructure Clusters’ Forum) held virtually on April 26, 2021.
The changes in consumer spending are particularly apparent in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs). Despite the uncertainty due to COVID, businesses are competing to ride the wave by increasing their channels and presenting competitive products fit for this altered behavior. Among the new consumer trends in the PH is a stay-at-home existence irrespective of the government’s resolve to relax mobility restrictions.
Impact of the Baby Boom
Philippines demographic forecasts expected more than 2 million babies to be born by the end of 2021. While this occurrence is due to natural population growth, it will increase the traffic of products in baby categories as new moms seek natal-supporting goods.
During the pandemic, PH citizens forcibly became more aware of their spending due to the economic volatility. As a result, consumers reduced extravagant shopping. Instead, they focused on essential goods to preserve their liquidity, such as welfare and health.
The Rise of E-Commerce
Being a burgeoning industry in the PH, COVID-19’s disruption to brick and mortar stores boosted the attractiveness of e-commerce. However, only 8 percent of the population is currently buying FMCG products online, leaning towards the country’s urban centers such as Metropolitan Manila (NCR).
Yet, the country’s e-commerce channels are rapidly growing, with an added 772.000 users in H1 2021, and brands all over the country added touch-points online irrespective of COVID-19’s existence.
With the vigorous e-commerce adoption, consumers feel at ease in defining competition for every product category. Therefore, the once lowest loyalty on a channel may decrease when consumers compare channels according to the benefits offered and their current personal needs. This behavioral change necessitates platforms to maintain vigorous competition.
Convenience & Proximity
Consumers are leaning toward brands that offer convenience as the leading consumer experience. Proximity follows closely on the list of priorities. Consequently, the rise of online shopping can help businesses reaffirm their presence as nearer consumers via dependable door-to-door fulfillment providers.
Another way Covid has impacted Philippine consumers’ behavior is the increased awareness of clean living. Hygiene-related products, such as antibacterial goods, are fast gaining a foothold as people try to prevent the spread of the virus.
The new direction of consumer behavior in the PH has forced all industry players to change their approach by providing consumers with a strategy best suited for their unique issues and considerations. Furthermore, the pandemic pushes businesses to create solutions that will not only last during the early post-pandemic era but be sustainable for the long term.