GLOBAL measurement company NielsenIQ said on Wednesday that the change in Filipinos’ shopping culture due to the pandemic crisis is now becoming permanent.

“As consumer habits continue to evolve, it’s important for retailers to track performance versus competition or risk becoming obsolete to the omni-shopper,” Pauline Jill Uy-Yu, NielsenIQ’s Consumer Intelligence head in the Philippines, said in an e-mailed statement.

Ms. Uy-Yu noted the growth of e-commerce in the country last year was the “most dramatic” because of the travel restrictions imposed by the government.

NielsenIQ saw a 325% increase in households shopping online last year.

It said 67% of Filipino consumers who purchased online “plan to continue to buy online even after quarantine restrictions are removed.”

According to Ms. Uy-Yu, the dramatic increase in online shopping in the Philippines “signals a more permanent transition towards a brick-and-click shopping behavior where both formats influence the final purchase decision.”

E-commerce is actually “at the end of the beginning” in Asia, NielsenIQ said.

“As e-commerce transitions to the next phase, there are five challenges that retailers need to face: greater fragmentation in retail, redefining of the role of physical stores, divergent realities, increased fight for consumer attention, and the race to last mile fulfillment,” it explained.

Vaughan Ryan, Nielsen IQ’s Consumer Intelligence managing director in Asia, said: “We have entered the end of the beginning of e-commerce in Asia and those who rest now will sleep through the most formative time of growth for e-commerce.”

“The technological advancements and creativity of the last decade have made the retail world more advanced — leading to an environment where trust is solidified, where it is more than logistics but more about pushing the envelope on personalized discovery and curation, where there is exploration of new categories, and seamless omni-channel integration,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin